What Happening on Commercial Flights?
The FAA is now taking a “zero-tolerance” approach to this behavior. Unruly passengers face potential criminal charges, fines up to $35,000 and/or lifetime bans on certain airlines.
“In a typical year the agency will end up taking this type of enforcement action in about 100 to 160 enforcement cases so it’s nothing new,” FAA Chief Steve Dickson said last month. “What really is new is the volume that we’re seeing right now.”
Since the beginning of the year, there have been over 3,000 incidents reported.
“We have seen an alarming increase in the rate over the last few months, and it’s something that we need to get under control,” said Dickson.
Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants union, said airline employees have reported a wide range of troubling incidents. “What we have seen on our planes is flight attendants being physically assaulted, pushed, choked”.
Just last month Southwest Airlines banned a passenger who knocked a flight attendant’s teeth out. While that person won’t be flying anytime soon, the real cost is to the thousands of other passengers being affected by this behavior as these flights are often diverted or delayed causing customers time and money.