LOS ANGELES (NewsNation) —Under the “Protection From Abusive Passengers Act,” proposed Wednesday, people convicted of assaulting crew members aboard an aircraft could be placed on a “no-fly” list. Officials said the list would be maintained by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).
Lawmakers have proposed a permanent “no-fly” list for unruly passengers, as part of an effort to address and stop violent incidents on airplanes. Additionally, those people could be barred from special programs that allow for expedited passenger screening, including the TSA’s PreCheck program or Global Entry, which is managed by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
Last year, the TSA tallied nearly 6,000 unruly passenger reports, with more than 4,000 related to mask compliance. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) also launched investigations into more than 1,000 of those cases.
Pilots, airline representatives and flight crews nearly universally agreed that a no-fly list across the industry would make them feel more comfortable doing their jobs and protecting passengers in the sky. Over the past two years, scenes of agitated passengers becoming physically and verbally abusive toward pilots, flight crews and fellow passengers have become too familiar.
“If you cannot keep yourself physically or emotionally in check, you need to not get on that aircraft,” said Capt. Laura Einsetler, a pilot.
Currently, each airline carefully maintains its own list of individuals barred from flying, but there’s currently a loophole: If someone misbehaves and gets banned from one airline, they can book a flight through a different one. This bill would allow airlines to share their data and enforce a no-fly list across the industry.
“It’s been way overdue, and we just need to get this done so we can protect our passengers, our crew members, and the safety of our skies,” Einsetler said.
Pilots hope a no-fly list will allow passengers to realize the stakes are too high before acting up. “If you’re going to disrupt the crew’s operation, then you will no longer fly on airlines anymore,” Einsetler said.
In February, a similar attempt to pass a federal no-fly list was cut short when several Republican senators pushed back, saying this would equate unruly passengers to terrorists and bar them from their constitutional right to travel freely.