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11.06.21 – An Update on Disruptive Passengers and Flight Attendant Assaults

Saturday, November 6, 2021

An Update on Disruptive Passengers and Flight Attendant Assaults

Incidents involving disruptive passengers have reached epidemic proportions. The FAA has received 5,033 formal complaints about unruly passengers this year alone. Substantial consequences are necessary to demonstrate that this behavior will not be tolerated.

This week, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) released a statement announcing an intent to coordinate more efficiently between the FAA and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to hold these offenders accountable. Enhanced coordination between agencies is a step in the right direction to help speed up the application of criminal fines and prosecution.

Included in the statement from the FAA and the DOJ:

“As part of an ongoing partnership, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) are working closely together to ensure unruly airline passengers face criminal prosecution when warranted. The agencies have established an information-sharing protocol for the FAA to refer unruly passenger cases to the FBI for criminal case review.

Let this serve both as a warning and a deterrent: If you disrupt a flight, you risk not just fines from the FAA but federal criminal prosecution as well,” said FAA Administrator Steve Dickson.   

FAA and DOJ representatives began meeting in August to develop an efficient method for referring the most serious unruly-passenger cases for potential criminal prosecution. That resulted in a process where the FAA regularly sends cases to the FBI, which forwards those that merit potential prosecution to field offices for further investigation.

As of Nov. 4, the FAA has initiated enforcement action in 227 cases. Where the evidence supports criminal review, the FAA refers the cases to the FBI.”

We applaud the FAA for referring the most egregious cases to the FAA and DOJ for criminal prosecution. Assault in the air should be handled with as much, if not more, seriousness than assault on the ground.

This week, APFA National President Julie Hedrick sent a letter to Department of Transportation (DOT) Secretary Buttigieg and U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to continue pushing for a federal “no-fly” list. APFA requests immediate action to help with the alarming rate of Flight Attendant assaults and onboard disruptions.To read the full letter from President Hedrick, click here.

APFA, along with other Unions, will continue to press for a federal “no-fly list” for unruly and violent passengers. There is no reason that passengers who punch flight crew should continue to have immediate flying privileges. We cannot allow another Flight Attendant to be assaulted when untaken actions are still sitting on the table. Flight Attendants and our passengers deserve immediate and tangible action.

Stay tuned for updates.

In Solidarity,

Allie Malis
APFA Government Affairs Representative

Lori Glattly
APFA Government Affairs Representative

1004 West Euless Boulevard
Euless, Texas 76040

Phone: (817) 540-0108
Fax: (817) 540-2077


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