1. Plea for banning unruly passengers
Delta Airlines has insisted that the US Department of Justice (DOJ) includes unruly passengers on a national “no-fly” list that would prevent them from future travel on any commercial airline. Delta’s CEO, Ed Bastian, had called for a no-fly list in 2021 and repeated his call for urgent action on 4 February.
“In addition to the welcome increase in enforcement and prosecutions, we are requesting you support our efforts with respect to the much-needed step of putting any person convicted of an onboard disruption on a national, comprehensive, unruly passenger ‘no-fly’ list that would bar that person from traveling on any commercial air carrier”, Bastian wrote to the US Attorney General Merrick Garland, according to reports by CNN.
In a previous plea to Garland, Delta’s CEO said such enforcement will help prevent future incidents and serve as a strong symbol of the consequences of not complying with crew member instructions on commercial aircraft.
Bastian said Delta has its own “no-fly” list, which has nearly 1,900 people on for refusing to comply with masking requirements. The airline has also submitted more than 900 banned names to the Transportation Security Administration to pursue civil penalties.
2. DOJ’s reaction
According to Reuters, the DOJ’s response stated its continued duty to prioritize the investigations and prosecutions of those who engage in criminal behaviour that threatens the safety of passengers, flight crews, and flight attendants.
We are fully committed to holding accountable those who violate federal law. We will be referring Delta’s letter to appropriate departments.Joshua Stueve, DOJ’s spokesman
“This action will help prevent future incidents and serve as a strong symbol of the consequences of not complying with crew member instructions on commercial aircraft,” maintained Bastian.
On 8 October 2021, US President Joe Biden said he had instructed the Justice Department to “deal” with the rising number of violent incidents onboard planes. Backing the President, the Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said that a federal no-fly list for violent airplane passengers “should be on the table.” “It is completely unacceptable to mistreat, abuse or even disrespect flight crews,” Buttigieg told CNN.
Delta’s tenacity in persuading the DOJ is taking into account the current “no-fly“ list that is a subset of the terrorism watch list allowing the US government to prohibit persons considered a threat to civil aviation. The airline hopes that the behaviour and the threat posed by the surge of unruly passengers could be somehow compared to terrorist activities.
4. Plea for joint effort
Previously, Delta Airlines asked other airlines to share their unruly passenger “no fly” list to ensure troubling travellers who have in the past endangered the safety and security of other passengers do not go on to do so on another carrier.