Lawmakers, air industry call for new action on unruly passengers

Travelers pack a United Airlines check-in area ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday at Newark International Airport in Newark, New Jersey, U.S., November 25, 2020. REUTERS/Mike Segar/File Photo

U.S. 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 (DAL.N) wants other U.S. 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 seen by Reuters. “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 Thursday.

Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson, a Democrat, asked why the Justice Department is not doing more to prosecute unruly air passengers.

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