Airlines Coordinating With Biden Admin On 'No-Fly' List After Unruly Passenger Incidents Hit 27-Year High

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by Tyler Durden
Tuesday, Feb 15, 2022 - 12:50 AM

Last week we reported that Delta Airlines CEO Ed Bastian officially asked the Biden DOJ to help deter aggressive behavior on flights, telling AG Merrick Garland that a list "will help prevent future incidents and serve as a strong symbol of the consequences of not complying with crew member instructions on commercial aircraft."

Today we learn that this has been in the works for a while, as Bloomberg reports that the largest airlines in the US have been working with the Biden administration 'for months' to compile a no-fly list of unruly passengers amid attacks on flight attendants, airport gate agents and fellow travelers.

Discussions among the carriers, their Airlines for America trade group, the Department of Homeland Security and Transportation Security Administration over the issue have intensified over the last six months or so, two people familiar with the issue said, asking not to be named because the talks are private. Airline unions also have been involved in some of the talks. -Bloomberg

Last year, 72% of the 5,981 reports of pandemic-era passenger incidents were related to masks according to the FAA, which launched investigations into more than 1,105 more serious incidents in 2021 - over 3x the previous high since the agency began collecting data in 1995.

Currently one of the largest stumbling blocks is trying to deploy uniform standards across airlines for banned individuals, as well as how to limit 'inevitable cases of mistaken identity.'

"It’s one thing to say you can’t fly on one airline," according to effrey Price, an aviation security consultant and professor of aviation management at Metropolitan State University of Denver, who hasn’t been involved in the talks. "It’s another thing to say you can’t fly on any airline."

According to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, a unified no-fly list is something the government is considering, though his agency plays no current role in security checks.

Delta has put nearly 1,900 people on its no-fly list for refusing to comply with mask requirements and has shared 900 of the names with the TSA to possibly pursue civil penalties. United Airlines has banned more than 800 from its flights for refusing to wear a mask. Southwest declined to disclose how many are on its internal list. -Bloomberg

"Obviously, there are enormous implications in terms of civil liberties, in terms of how you administer something like that," Buttigieg told CNN. "Even when it was over terrorism, it was not a simple thing to set up. So none of these things can be done lightly. But I think all of these things need to be looked at, at a moment like this."

How long before no-fly lists include unvaccinated individuals?