Transportation Secret Pete Buttigieg stated Sunday that a federal “no-fly” list for unruly or violent passengers on commercial aircrafts should be considered as tensions between crew and travelers rise.
Asked whether such passengers should not be allowed to fly, Mr. Buttigieg replied, “I think so.”
“Look! It is absolutely unacceptable to mistreat or abuse flight crews,” he stated on CNN’s “State of the Union .”
His comments came with aircraft fights on the rise as travel surges following the COVID-19 pandemic shutdowns.
The Federal Aviation Administration’s year-to-date figures show 4,941 reports of unruly passengers through Tuesday, including 3,580 mask-related incidents, and 923 investigations initiated.
This is a fivefold increase in the number of investigations that have been initiated over recent years. In 2020, there were 183 investigations, and 146 in 2019.
“There’s no excuse for treating flight crews or other essential workers in the air like bus drivers and air crews that get people to where they need to go,” Mr. Buttigieg stated. “The FAA supports flight crews. This is why we are seeing some very harsh penalties and fines proposed. We will continue to explore all options to ensure that both flight crews as well as passengers are safe .”
— State of the Union (@CNNSotu) October 31, 2021
Last Wednesday, a passenger punched a female flight attendant in her face during an American Airlines flight from New York City, California to Santa Ana, California. The incident caused the plane to land in Denver.
” After a flight attendant in a different cabin bumped her passenger, we are told that she then walked into one of flight galleys and the passenger approached her and punched in her face at least twice.” Paul Hartshorn Jr., spokesperson for the Association of Professional Flight Attendants, told KTLA-TV Los Angeles.
“This is what we know now, and she suffered broken bones in her nose & her face,” he stated.
He stated that crews are subject to “verbal attacks against our flight attendants every single day, it’s safe for us to say, and increasing .”
The passenger was taken into custody after the plane touched down and prohibited from flying again to America.
American Airlines stated in a statement, “Outraged” by reports about what happened onboard .”
“American Airlines will not tolerate violence against our team members,” the statement said. “We have contacted the FBI and local law enforcement. We are working with them in order to make sure they have all the information .”
Mr. Buttigieg has praised commercial flight crews and said that they were “on the frontlines of the pandemic since day one .”
The Transportation Security Administration increased in September its mandate for all transportation networks up to Jan. 18.