The Federal Aviation Administration is trying to expand the use of its no-fly list as a way to keep terrorists from carrying out attacks on commercial aircraft. Civil liberties groups warn, however, that it’s dangerous and may infringe upon Americans’ constitutional rights.
This week, a group of airline sector officials testified in front of Congress, urging legislators to adopt a worldwide no-fly list for rowdy passengers.
According to The Hill in Washington, D.C., Transport Workers Union of America president John Samuelsen stated, “If there isn’t a no-fly list, individuals will continue to abuse aircraft pilots and gate agents.”
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Before the court, Samuelson gave a virtual Zoom testimony.
Transportation and Maritime Security Subcommittee of the US House of Representatives Committee on Homeland Security. ‘On the Frontlines in Turbulent Times: Workforce Perspectives on the State of Transportation Security,’ was the focus of the hearing.
A federal no-fly list would safeguard flight attendants, crew members, gate agents, and others who have faced unprecedented verbal and physical abuse from passengers this year.
As of November 16, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has received a staggering 5,240 complaints of rowdy passengers, according to The Hill. In a typical year, the FAA handles between 100 and 150 such instances.
“By 2021, we’ll have logged more cases of disruptive airline passengers than we’ve ever seen in the history of aviation,” Sara Nelson, International President of the Association of Flight Attendants union, stated. “While the number of bad actors is minimal, the episodes of disruption have become so common that Flight Attendants question if their uniform will be a statement of leadership and authority in the cabin, keeping everyone safe, or a target for a violent assault every morning they put it on.”
Nelson, Samuelson, and others are urging the federal government to create a uniform list of the most disruptive passengers, akin to the no-fly list for terrorism risks. They argue that the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) should be in charge of the list and that anybody convicted of an airplane-related crime should not be allowed to travel.
Individual airlines have formed their own no-fly lists and blacklisted passengers, but Nelson, among others, has urged for airlines to share such information and recognize no-fly lists issued by their peers.
“Although the vast majority of passengers comply with all crew instructions,” Airlines for America said in a statement to The Hill, “we continue to collaborate with our government partners at the FAA, TSA, and other relevant agencies to identify additional actions that can be taken across the aviation ecosystem to prevent and respond to unruly passenger incidents.”