In a letter to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland obtained by FOX Business, Delta CEO Edward Bastian appealed to federal authorities to help the tense situation as consumers "reclaim" the skies following prolonged restrictions during the pandemic.
Delta already put nearly 1,900 people on a private "no-fly" list for refusing to comply with masking requirements, with 900 of those people submitted to the TSA for civil penalties. Bastian has asked for the AG to create a master list that would ban anyone convicted of on-board disruption from traveling on any commercial air carrier.
"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," Bastian wrote. "Delta, along with our industry partners at Airlines for America, has been advocating since last year for heightened reporting, investigation and prosecution of those who interfere with on-board safety."
The letter outlined a number of steps the airline has already taken, including a safety risk assessment, expanded de-escalation and self-defense training, and increased security at airports.
But Bastian stressed the need for the national "no-fly" list. He claimed that the rate of incidents with unruly passengers on Delta flights has increased nearly 100% since before the pandemic started.
|DAL||DELTA AIR LINES INC.||38.60||+1.38||+3.71%|
|AAL||AMERICAN AIRLINES GROUP INC.||16.13||+0.63||+4.06%|
|UAL||UNITED AIRLINES HOLDINGS INC.||43.08||+1.51||+3.63%|
|JBLU||JETBLUE AIRWAYS CORP.||10.26||+0.43||+4.37%|
"We fully support using the full force of the law in these cases," Bastian added.
Those numbers would have declined in 2022 so far, with the reports of unruly passengers down 50% so far this year from the same period in 2021, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reported.
Of the 76 reports received in the first two weeks of this year, about 43 related to masking issues.
President Biden on Oct. 8 instructed the Justice Department to "deal" with the rising number of violent incidents on planes.