The CEO of Delta Air Lines is calling on the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to have passengers convicted of disruptive behavior added to a national “no-fly” list that would prevent them from future travel on any commercial air carrier.
“We are requesting you support our efforts with respect to the much-needed step of putting any person convicted of an on-board disruption on a national, comprehensive, unruly passenger ‘no-fly’ list that would bar that person from traveling on any commercial air carrier,” Delta Chief Executive Ed Basian wrote in a letter reviewed by The Epoch Times.
“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,” the CEO added. The DOJ did not immediately comment on Basian’s letter.
Right now, the “no-fly” list only includes a subset of the terrorism list watch that allows the U.S. government to prohibit persons considered a threat to civil aviation from traveling on airlines.
In the letter, written to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland on Friday, Basian explained that though such incidents represent a small fraction of all overall flights—disruptive behavior of passengers onboard Delta airlines has increased by nearly 100 percent since 2019.
The CEO said Delta has placed nearly 1,900 people on the airline’s “no-fly” list for refusing to comply with masking requirements and submitted more than 900 banned names to the Transportation Security Administration to pursue civil penalties.
Delta also called on other airline companies in September to share the lists of problematic passengers who have been banned—as an effort to protect airline employees.
Last month, three New York residents were charged with assaulting a Delta security officer at JFK Airport in September. The three were charged with “viciously [assaulting] an airline security officer by beating him to the floor with his radio and then kicking and punching him in the face and body while he was down,” U.S. Attorney Breon Peace said in January.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said last year it had taken a “zero tolerance” approach and referred more than three dozen unruly passengers to the FBI for potential criminal prosecution.
While the FAA does not have the authority to prosecute unruly passengers, the federal agency has built an “information-sharing protocol” with the DOJ so that the department is notified about criminal conduct occurring on commercial aircraft.
Unruly passengers may face up to a $37,000 fine per violation, and multiple violations can be imposed per incident.
President Joe Biden said in October that he had instructed the DOJ to “deal” with the rising number of violent incidents on board air carriers.
Reuters contributed to this report.