Key House Democrats urge FAA to crack down on unruly vacationers, rioters ahead of Biden’s inauguration

People stroll at Reagan National Airport in Arlington, Virginia.

Hannah McKay | Reuters

Two key House Democrats on Monday urged the Federal Aviation Administration to crack down on unruly vacationers and make sure that individuals in final week’s riot on the U.S. Capitol do not fly.

Their feedback come ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration and after stories of disruptions on board Washington, D.C.-bound flights ahead of Wednesday’s riot on the U.S. Capitol and different flights out of the realm afterward. The incidents concerned pro-Trump chanting, passenger arguments and refusal to put on masks. Masks are required to fly on U.S. airways.

“This behavior has the potential to cause serious problems when it occurs in the cabin, especially as pilots and flight attendants are pulled to deescalate or respond to such events while performing their critical safety duties to ensure the wellbeing of every traveler on board,” Rep. Peter DeFazio of Oregon, chairman of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and Rep. Rick Larsen of Washington State, who heads the subcommittee on aviation, wrote to FAA Administrator Steve Dickson, in a letter that was seen by CNBC.

The FAA did not instantly remark.

Alaska Airlines on Friday stated it banned 14 vacationers from a Washington, D.C.-to-Seattle flight. The vacationers had been “non-mask compliant, rowdy, argumentative and harassed our crew members,” in accordance to spokesman Ray Lane.

One video on social media confirmed Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., being harangued over certifying the November presidential election outcomes. Airlines additionally took different precautions ahead of what was then a deliberate demonstration, corresponding to transferring crews to airport accommodations, away from central Washington, D.C.

“Unfortunately, as members of this mob have departed our Nation’s capital, their repugnant behavior continues at airports and on board airliners, evidenced by press reports detailing ‘rowdy’ and ‘unruly’ conduct and harassment of travelers and crewmembers mid-flight and the accosting of elected officials,” lawmakers wrote.

FAA chief Dickson on Saturday warned vacationers that they might face hefty fines and potential jail time in the event that they engaged in unruly conduct. Interfering with flight crews is towards the regulation and carries a fantastic of up to $35,000.

The lawmakers urged Dickson to do extra, together with work with airways, airports, unions and others “to develop a plan to implement multiple layers of measures, within the bounds of the Constitution, to detect instances in which those connected with last Wednesday’s attack or their sympathizers may attempt to travel by air again to Washington, D.C.”

The requested Dickson to present a plan by Friday.

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