As if we needed any more problems, passengers from hell are a thing now (or more a thing than before, anyway). They assault flight attendants, toss food and alcohol around, and throw their masks on the ground. Delta Air Lines has apparently had enough.
In two internal memos to employees this week, Delta said it had asked its competitors to share their internal no-fly lists, which it says would prevent crappy passengers from causing trouble on different airlines. The company has so far submitted more than 600 names of banned passengers to the Federal Aviation Administration this year.
The memos were sent on the same week that Delta participated, through the industry trade group Airlines for America, in a hearing on “air rage” held by the House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure on Thursday.
Kristen Manion Taylor, senior vice president of inflight service, said in her memo that Delta had more than 1,600 people on its internal no-fly list. She added that the company had been analysing safety on its flights over the past few months and would roll out additional measures on training and response on board.
“We’ve also asked other airlines to share their ‘no fly’ list to further protect airline employees across the industry – something we know is top of mind for you as well,” Taylor said. “A list of banned customers doesn’t work as well if that customer can fly with another airline.”
It’s not clear how such information-sharing would work, though. When asked by the Washington Post, Delta did not elaborate whether sharing the internal lists should be done via the federal government or directly with other airlines.
According to the FAA, the majority of the problems with unruly passengers this year are related to individuals refusing to comply with federal mask mandates. Since January, the agency has received about 3,889 reports of unruly passengers. Of those, 2,867 involved the mask mandate. As of August, the FAA had fined these passengers more than $US1 ($1) million in fines for their bad behaviour.
At the hearing, Lauren Beyer, the vice president for security and facilitation at Airlines for America, said that “there are legal and operational challenges with airlines sharing those lists amongst one another,” the Post reported.
In response, committee chairman Peter DeFazio, Democrat of Oregon, mulled whether it would be possible for the FAA to create a database with the information from the airlines’ no-fly lists that all companies could access. Nonetheless, the FAA did not commit to the idea on Friday, telling the Post that it was meeting with airports, airlines, unions, and others to discuss what measures it could take to address unruly passengers.