US lawmakers, aviation unions and others on Thursday pushed for new actions to try to deter the rising reports of unruly passenger incidents.
Delta Air Lines wants other US airlines to share lists of passengers who have been banned during the Covid-19 pandemic for disruptive behavior to help deter aggressive behavior.
"We’ve also asked other airlines to share their 'no fly' list to further protect airline employees across the industry," Delta said in a memo. "A list of banned customers doesn’t work as well if that customer can fly with another airline."
Delta said since the Covid-19 pandemic it has put more than 1,600 people on its "no fly" list. United Airlines has banned more than 1,000 people.
House Transportation Chairman Peter DeFazio asked at a hearing Thursday on "air rage" if there are legal impediments to airlines sharing "no fly" lists. He said the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) could potentially create a list from airline input.
The rate of unruly airline passenger incidents has dropped sharply but remains twice as high as last year, the FAA said on Thursday.
Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson, a Democrat, asked why the Justice Department is not doing more to prosecute unruly air passengers.
"The Department of Justice has been slow to conduct criminal investigations or seek indictments," said Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA) at the hearing. "We do need ... Congress to encourage DOJ to take those (enforcement) actions."
A Justice Department spokesman noted interference with flight crew members is a federal offence carrying a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.
The department "treats interference with flight crew members the same as every other case we investigate. We use prosecutorial discretion in deciding which cases are appropriate for federal prosecution." (Reuters)
US airlines urged to share Covid no-fly lists
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