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The U.S. plans to prosecute unruly air passengers as complaints surge

Attorney General Merrick B. Garland directed prosecutors on Wednesday to prioritize the prosecution of federal crimes on commercial aircraft, as millions of travelers make their way across the United States for Thanksgiving, the most traveled holiday in the country.

As travel in the United States nears prepandemic levels, the federal government has ramped up prosecution of crimes on flights, especially by passengers refusing to abide by Covid protocols. In some cases, passengers have assaulted or threatened flight attendants.

Federal law prohibits assaults, intimidation and threats of violence that interfere with workers on flights, as well as other criminal acts that can occur during a flight.

Reports filed in the Aviation Safety Reporting System database by flight attendants at times describe a chaotic, unhinged workplace where passengers regularly abuse airline employees.

“Passengers who assault, intimidate or threaten violence against flight crews and flight attendants do more than harm those employees; they prevent the performance of critical duties that help ensure safe air travel,” Mr. Garland said in a statement on Wednesday.

In the past year, there have been 5,338 unruly passenger reports, and 3,856 were mask related incidents, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

Historically, the F.A.A. has handled these cases with civil penalties, warning notices and counseling. However, under the current zero-tolerance policy toward unruly passengers established in January, the F.A.A. has opted to charge an unruly passenger with civil penalties. A passenger can be fined up to $37,000 per violation, and can be cited for multiple violations at a time.

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by Anonymousreply 13November 25, 2021 9:40 PM

Atta boy, Merrick. Forget about those pesky subpoena shirkers. Go after the real crimes.

by Anonymousreply 1November 25, 2021 11:28 AM

It’s fight or flight!

by Anonymousreply 2November 25, 2021 11:36 AM

You couldn't pay me to fly any more.

by Anonymousreply 3November 25, 2021 12:15 PM


I was on a transatlantic flight recently and they limited alcoholic beverages to one per person -- in coach.

by Anonymousreply 4November 25, 2021 12:21 PM

Good. MAGATs think they can do whatever they want and nobody’s ever going to stop them. They are anarchists.

by Anonymousreply 5November 25, 2021 12:24 PM

Soooo . . . customers have to pay top dollar for being treated like shit in over-sold flights, confined in a metal can for hours, exposed to COVID and other diseases, and then get prosecuted for unruly behavior?

by Anonymousreply 6November 25, 2021 12:45 PM

Good. I'm with R2. IF I were to fly again, I would only go first class no matter how much it costs. I am so relieved my days of travel for work are over.

by Anonymousreply 7November 25, 2021 12:48 PM

R7 here, meant R3!

by Anonymousreply 8November 25, 2021 12:49 PM

R6 I mean, if they insist on behaving like apes then it's fair we treat them like animals, right? Imagine assaulting somebody because they told you to wear a mask. Subhuman, really.

by Anonymousreply 9November 25, 2021 12:53 PM

I recently flew Southwest. They made an announcement about not consuming alcohol not purchased in-flight, which I didn't remember on past trips ... or maybe I'm just forgetting that particular announcement.

by Anonymousreply 10November 25, 2021 1:08 PM

About damn time. Assault someone on the street, get arrested and charged. Assault someone on a plane, get slapped on the wrist with a ban from future flights.

I don't know why the feds and the airlines have allowed it to get this bad.

by Anonymousreply 11November 25, 2021 1:42 PM

I don't think they would have tolerated this level of passenger misbehavior immediately following 9/11

by Anonymousreply 12November 25, 2021 9:31 PM

I've flown on a few flights this year, and never seen anyone misbehave.

by Anonymousreply 13November 25, 2021 9:40 PM
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