FAA reveals stricter unruly passenger policy

After a string of recent incidents, the agency has decided to strengthen its response to troublesome travellers

The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has upped its response against unruly airline passengers in response to a string of recent “troubling incidents”.

In a statement, the agency said it had seen a “disturbing increase” in cases where airlines passengers have disrupted flights with threatening and violent behaviour. The FAA says many of these events have stemmed from the passengers’ refusal to wear masks and the recent violence at the US Capitol in Washington DC.

Photo Aviation Image Network/Bailey

In response, Steve Dickson the FAA administrator signed an order earlier this week, directing a stricter legal enforcement policy against unruly passengers.

He commented: “Flying is the safest mode of transportation and I signed this order to keep it that way.”

Historically, the agency has addressed unruly-passenger incidents using a variety of methods ranging from warnings and counselling to civil penalties.

The FAA will now not address these cases with warnings or counselling but instead will pursue legal enforcement action against any passenger who assaults, threatens, intimidates, or interferes with airline crew members. This policy will be in effect until March 30, 2021.

Passengers who interfere with, physically assault, or threaten to physically assault aircraft crew or anyone else on an aircraft face stiff penalties, including fines of up to $35,000 and imprisonment.

The FAA hinted at possibility of adding troublesome passengers to no-fly lists saying in the statement that despite not being directly responsible for them, “the agency works closely with federal law enforcement and national security partners on any reported security threats that may impact aviation safety.