Skip to main content
You have permission to edit this article.
Edit
US: Number of unruly air travelers lower, still too high
AP

US: Number of unruly air travelers lower, still too high

  • Updated

FILE - This July 2, 2021, file photo shows a sign stating face coverings are required is displayed at O'Hare airport in Chicago. Federal officials say unruly passengers are becoming a bit less common on airline flights, but they are still causing disruptions at twice the rate of late last year. The Federal Aviation Administration said Thursday, Sept, 23, the its zero-tolerance policy — including fines against more passengers — is helping.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The rate of unruly passengers on airline flights is down sharply from early this year but is mostly unchanged over the past three months and remains more than twice the level seen in late 2020, according to government figures.

The Federal Aviation Administration on Thursday took credit for the recent decrease, linking it to the agency's use of larger fines against violators. Those fines have added up to more than $1 million.

“Our work is having an impact and the trend is moving in the right direction," said FAA Administrator Stephen Dickson, “but we need the progress to continue. This remains a serious safety threat.”

At a congressional hearing Thursday, the chairman of the House Transportation Committee, Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., called for more criminal prosecutions of unruly passengers. He also said airports should stop concessioners from selling alcohol to go.

“Get a great big to-go cup with four shots in it and take it on the airplane — that needs to end," he said.

Criminal prosecutions are rare, and usually left up to local authorities. The Justice Department said it filed charges in federal court for 16 defendants in a recent 10-month period, according to travel publication Skift.

The FAA said this week that airlines have reported 4,385 events involving rowdy passengers this year, with 73% of them involving passengers who refuse to wear face masks, which are required on flights by federal rule.

Airlines reported about six incidents of disruptive passengers for every 10,000 flights last week, the FAA said. That is about the same as late June but down about half from February and March. It is more than twice as high as the rate of 2.45 incidents per 10,000 flights during the last three months of 2020.

FAA figures show that the spike began in late January, including several flights that were disrupted by people flying to a rally in Washington for then-President Donald Trump.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.


Subscribe to stay connected to Tucson. A subscription helps you access more of the local stories that keep you connected to the community.

Get Government & Politics updates in your inbox!

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Related to this story

Most Popular

  • Updated

WASHINGTON (AP) — Vladimir Putin paid scant attention to Fiona Hill, a preeminent U.S. expert on Russia, when she was seated next to him at dinners. Putin’s people placed her there by design, choosing a “nondescript woman,” as she put it, so the Russian president would have no competition for attention.

  • Updated

WASHINGTON (AP) — A Navy nuclear engineer with access to military secrets has been charged with trying to pass information about the design of American nuclear-powered submarines to someone he thought was a representative of a foreign government but who turned out to be an undercover FBI agent, the Justice Department said Sunday.

  • Updated

WASHINGTON (AP) — Rising inflation is expected to lead to a sizeable increase in Social Security's annual cost-of-living adjustment, or COLA, for 2022. Exactly how much will be revealed Wednesday morning after a Labor Department report on inflation during September, a data point used in the final calculation.

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.

Topics

News Alerts

Breaking News