FAA chief issues stern warning to travelers after politically motived flight disruptions

A flight attendant gathers trash on a flight aboard a Boeing 737 Max from Dallas Fort Worth Airport to Tulsa, Oklahoma, December 2, 2020.

Carlo Allegri | Reuters

The head of the Federal Aviation Administration on Saturday mentioned travelers will face severe penalties for unruly conduct on plane, a stern warning that comes after a number of on-board incidents previously week involving pro-Trump chanting and passengers’ refusal to put on masks, a requirement to fly on U.S. airways.

“The FAA will pursue strong enforcement action against anyone who endangers the safety of a flight, with penalties ranging from monetary fines to jail time,” FAA Administrator Steve Dickson mentioned in an announcement.

Unruly passengers can face fines of up to $35,000.

Alaska Airlines on Friday mentioned it banned 14 passengers on a Washington D.C.-Seattle flight. The travelers “were non-mask compliant, rowdy, argumentative and harassed our crew members. Their behavior was unacceptable,” mentioned Alaska Airlines spokesman Ray Lane. “We apologize to our other guests who were made uncomfortable on the flight.

Videos of several incidents were shared on social media. An American Airlines pilot on a Washington-to-Phoenix flight warned travelers he would “put this aircraft down and dump folks off in the course of Kansas” to convince passengers to “behave” on board.

“At American, we take the security of our clients critically and we worth the belief they place in our workforce to look after them all through their journey,” American said in a statement. The pilot made an announcement emphasizing the importance of following crew member instructions and complying with mandatory face-covering policies.”

Earlier within the week some passengers chanted “traitor” on a Delta Air Lines flight carrying Republican Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah. Delta mentioned its “crew quickly engaged and resolved the issue.” 

In one other flight this week, American Airlines flight attendants turned up the lights and ordered passengers to their seats after passengers shouted and cursed one another, in accordance to a video shared by Twitter consumer @MaranieRae who mentioned she was on the flight.

“I expect all passengers to follow crew member instructions, which are in place for their safety and the safety of flight,” mentioned Dickson. “The FAA monitors and tracks all commercial passenger flights in real time, and reporting mechanisms are in place for crew members to identify any number of safety and security concerns that may arise in flight.”

Dickson mentioned unruly conduct can distract crews and threaten crewmembers’ capability to carry out safety-related duties.

Dickson’s statements come after flight attendants’ unions raised security considerations this week about politically motivated disruptions on flights after a pro-Trump mob stormed the U.S. Capitol constructing, demanding that the outcomes of the presidential election be overturned.

“The mob mentality behavior that took place on several flights to the D.C. area yesterday was unacceptable and threatened the safety and security of every single person onboard,” Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, which represents some 50,000 cabin crew members at UnitedAlaska and greater than a dozen different carriers, mentioned Wednesday.

Airlines had taken precautions forward and after the politically motivated riot on the Capitol, shifting crews to airport lodges. American Airlines suspended serving alcohol on Washington D.C. flights.

“We should work harder to keep problems on the ground,” the AFA advised member flight attendants after the FAA’s warning Saturday. “Ensure strict mask compliance before pushback. Work as one crew, communicate, and take your concerns to the flight deck and supervisors.”

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