The proposed bill follows a series of high-profile incidents, including a passenger who attacked an attendant with a makeshift knife.
person handing over their passport

I like order on airplanes. People shouldn’t be holding up the boarding process by organizing their belongings before sitting down. And they certainly shouldn’t be rushing to the front of the plane upon touchdown—cutting off those with seats in front of them. I’ve found myself softly confronting such offenders, truth be told, but I’d never be so unruly as to cause a scene. Not everyone has such restraint, or good reason, as we’ve learned. 

A bipartisan group of lawmakers in the US is proposing new legislation to ban airline passengers fined or convicted of serious physical violence from boarding commercial flights. The “Protection from Abusive Passengers Act” aims to enhance aviation worker and passenger safety, as well as minimize disruptions to the national aviation system.

Lawmakers proposed the bill after a series of high-profile incidents onboard airplanes, including a passenger who attempted to open an emergency exit and attacked an attendant with a makeshift knife.

The FAA received 2,456 reports of unruly passengers last year and proposed $8.4 million in fines, up from the $5 million proposed the previous year. Although the total number of reports was lower than in 2021, the proposed penalties increased dramatically.

The new bill has been met with mixed reactions. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) opposed the no-fly list for unruly passengers, citing the government’s history of prejudice. Meanwhile, the airline industry and major US airlines have shown support. Flight attendants from Southwest Airlines Co, Frontier Airlines, and American Airlines will join lawmakers in their push for the legislation.

If the law goes into effect, the TSA would be responsible for managing the no-fly list and developing guidelines for removal and appealing from the list. The length of the ban would depend on the severity of the incident.

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