Delta Airlines calls on federal government to set up unruly passenger no-fly list

DENVER — Delta Airline’s CEO, Ed Bastian, sent a letter to US Attorney General Merrick B. Garland asking for the federal government’s help in creating a no-fly list for unruly passengers. Some say this has been a long time coming.

“I think it is way passed due, and I applaud it and hopefully someone comes and steps up and they agree to do it,” said Tig Loeffler, who flew out of the Denver International Airport (DEN) Monday.

In a letter shared with Denver7, Bastian wrote, “In addition to the welcomed increase in enforcement and prosecutions, 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.”

For Lowell Valencia-Miller, a professor at the University of Denver with experience in the airline industry, it’s a reasonable request

“Ed is simply saying they have the infrastructure, they have the legal right to create a list,” said Valencia-Miller. “Should we not at least track those unruly passengers so that if they’re unruly on Delta, what’s to say they won’t be unruly on United?”

Delta says it has already put 1,900 people on its own no-fly list. Valencia-Miller argues creating a universal list for airlines could bring travelers peace of mind.

“This list would give us one more tool to ensure to the traveling public that our flights are safe, and those that have been convicted of a violent act, a federal act on-board an airplane, do not get the privilege of flying in the future,” said Valencia-Miller.

Michael Boyd, president of Boyd Group International, says he is worried some airlines may abuse the no-fly list. He says there’s no clear definition “unruly,” plus it’s not clear how long someone would be banned from flying.

“There’s no excuse for being rude with flight attendants. What I fear is it being abused,” Boyd said. “If you have a passenger that isn’t behaving properly, or saying the right things, you can have a flight attendant saying, ‘I’m going to put you on the no -fly list and put you through that.’ That’s happened. I’ve seen situations, I’ve worked on cases where situations, where people were put on a no-fly list for no reason at all.”

No other airlines have supported Delta’s request. For some passengers, the rules of flying are clear.

“They’re doing their job, they’re following the rules and regulations. People who are flying, they know the rules, so don’t be unruly,” said Mark Barrington, a passenger flying through DEN. “If you’re going to be unruly, then don’t fly.”

Last year alone, the Federal Aviation Administration reported nearly 6,000 cases of unruly passenger. About 4,000 of them were related to masking, according to the FAA.

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