Delta Air Lines asked the Justice Department on Thursday to add unruly passengers to its national “no fly” list, saying there must be “zero tolerance for any behavior that disrupts flight safety.”
In a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland, the company’s CEO, Ed Bastian, said that “the number of unruly passenger incidents on Delta has increased nearly 100 percent since 2019” and that such federal action is desperately needed.
Bastian wants “any person convicted of an inflight disturbance on a national, comprehensive, unmanageable ‘no-fly’ passenger list that would prohibit that person from traveling on a commercial airline.”
“This action will help prevent future incidents and be a strong symbol of the consequences of failing to comply with crew instructions on commercial aircraft,” the airline chief added.
The CEO called on “our airline partners to share their ‘no fly’ list of unruly passengers to ensure that those who have endangered the safety and security of our people do not do so on another airline.”
A representative of the Transportation Security Administration, which maintains the FBI’s “no fly” list of potential terrorist threats, declined to comment on the Delta request.
But TSA spokesman R. Carter Langston added: “It is quite reassuring for all passengers to know that both the private and public sectors are working to find solutions to the problem of unruly passengers.”
David Slotnick, senior aviation business reporter for travel blog The Points Guy, said he doesn’t expect Washington to act on Delta’s proposal.
“Travelers are nervous about it (unruly passengers). They’re worried about it. They’ll be happy to see this kind of action (request),” Slotnick said.
“But at the same time, the actual speed of this (unruly behavior in airplanes) is still so, so low compared to the number of people actually traveling.”
A Justice Department representative could not be immediately reached for comment Friday.
Increasing incidents of misbehaved passengers on commercial flights prompted the Federal Aviation Administration to mount a publicity campaign last year: “Unruly Behavior Doesn’t Fly.”
This week, a flight from Fort Lauderdale to Atlanta Delta was forced to turn around because of two unruly passengers.