(WASHINGTON) — After the worst year in history for unruly airline passengers, Delta’s CEO is asking the Department of Justice to help create a national “no-fly” list for anyone convicted of federal offenses related to an on-board disruption.
CEO Ed Bastian wrote to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland on Thursday asking for his support in banning unruly passengers from all commercial carriers.
Bastian believes banning unruly passengers from all commercial flights will send a strong signal to the flying public that not following crew member instructions comes with severe consequences.
“This action will help prevent future incidents and serve as a strong symbol of the consequences of not complying with crew member instructions on commercial aircraft,” he wrote.
Unruly passenger incidents onboard Delta planes have increased nearly 100% since 2019, according to Bastian.
To date the airline has placed almost 2,000 people on Delta’s internal no-fly list for refusing to wear a mask and has submitted around 1,000 banned names to the Transportation Security Administration to pursue civil penalties.
Delta has previously asked other U.S. airlines to share their internal no-fly lists so that people who endangered their crew can’t do so on another airline.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has seen a troubling spike in unruly passenger incidents with airlines reporting a staggering 6,304 reports of misconduct since January 2021. The agency is still enforcing its zero-tolerance policy for in-flight disruptions which could lead to fines as high as $52,500 and up to 20 years in prison.
In November, the FAA revealed some unruly passengers could start to face criminal prosecution after establishing an information-sharing protocol with the Department of Justice.
Last month, federal charges were brought against three passengers who allegedly “viciously assaulted” a Delta security officer at John F. Kennedy Airport by “beating him to the floor with his radio and then kicking and punching him in the face and body while he was down,” according to Breon Peace, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York.
All three pleaded not guilty, and were released on $25,000 bond.
“This is one of four incidents that have resulted in federal charges against abusive customers in the last 30 days,” Bastian said.
The Department of Justice declined to comment.
ABC News’ Luke Barr and Sam Sweeney contributed to this report.
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