FAA pledges to keep zero tolerance policy for unruly travelers on flights
CHICAGO - Shouting obscenities, refusing to follow the rules, and hitting flight attendants—that is just some of the unruly behavior that the Federal Aviation Administration said won't fly anymore.
The agency announced that the "zero tolerance policy" initiated during the pandemic will stay in place.
Acting FAA Administrator Billy Nolan said "behaving dangerously on a plane will cost you; that's a promise."
Passengers can be fined up to $37,000 per violation for causing trouble. That's up from $25,000.
They can also face criminal charges. The FAA has referred 80 cases to the FBI for criminal review. The agency also wants to revoke TSA pre-check from unruly passengers. They said talks are underway to make that happen.
The spike in incidents in 2020 was dramatic and disturbing and while the zero tolerance policy is being credited, in part, with reducing incidents involving unruly passengers by 60%, incidents persist.
By April, statistics show there were 1,233 reports of unruly passengers and 797 mask-related incidents since the start of the year.
The FAA said while the masks may be gone for now, easing arguments over the mandate, passengers are still acting up.
Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants – CWA, is calling for a federal no-fly list for unruly passengers.
Nelson told "The Points Guy" that passenger safety on flights needs to be a bigger concern.
"More needs to be done," Nelson said. "Right now a passenger can be fined or convicted, and may be banned on an individual airline but that does not prevent this violent offender from flying another airline. "
The FAA said it will continue to work with airlines labor unions and law enforcement to drive the numbers down even more.