One of the most challenging things that airlines have to deal with today is the incredible number of unruly passengers. According to the Federal Aviation Administration, there were nearly 100 cases of unruly passengers for this week alone. On Tuesday, a total of 3,509 unruly passenger reports were recorded by the agency in 2021.
The majority of the cases of unruly passengers were due to non-compliance to the federal mask mandate. Despite the relaxed masking rules, travelers on public transport including airports and airplanes will still have to wear a mask. There are 2605 cases of unruly passengers related to noncompliance to the mask mandate.
In 2020, FAA only launched 183 investigations relating to unruly passengers onboard planes. In 2021, there have been 581 investigations so far. The FAA may impose fines up to $37,000 per violation. This month, one passenger received a fine of $10,500 for refusing to wear a mask in February during a flight.
Violent behavior onboard is also becoming rampant. Some flight attendants became victims to unruly passengers. In some cases, flight attendants lost their teeth.
Cases of Unruly Passengers at Airports
Aside from disruptive passengers on board, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) also noticed a similar trend for passengers passing through security lines at airports. TSA acting administrator Darby LaJoye said that the agency has reported more than 85 physical assault cases against TSA officers since last year. 25 of which happened just since the end of May. An incident in Denver last month involved a passenger biting TSA officers.
TSA last month announced that the agency is going to resume self-defense training. At that time, LaJoye said that “While it is our hope that flight crew members never have need for these tactics, it is critical to everyone’s safety that they be well-prepared to handle situations as they arise”. Airline groups last month also asked the DOJ to prosecute unruly passengers.