Delta Is Pushing for Banned Passenger Lists to Be Shared Between Airlines

They're making a list and checking it thrice

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Something’s been in the air ever since COVID-19 came on the scene: rowdy airline passengers. Ever since air travel started picking back up last year, so have the numbers of unruly passengers. Between Jan. 1, 2021, to Oct. 12, 2021, the Federal Aviation Administration received 4,724 reported cases of unruly passengers. It’s the most ever, by a long shot, since 1995 when the agency began recording reports.

Several in-air offenses, like refusing to comply with the mask mandate or assaulting a flight crew member, are dealt with via hefty fines. However, airlines reserve the right to punish unruly passengers by placing them on their own internal “no-fly” list, which bans the disruptive passenger from flying that airline for life.

“Anytime a customer physically engages with intent to harm, whether in a lobby, at a gate, or onboard, they are added to our permanent no-fly list,” Delta’s senior vice president of charter and cargo operations wrote in a recent staff memo. Currently, Delta says they have around 1,600 people on their internal banned passenger list.

The apparent loophole is that, as Kristin Manion Taylor, Delta’s senior vice president of in-flight service, shared in a memo to flight attendants last month, “a list of banned customers doesn’t work as well if that customer can fly with another airline.”

For this reason, Delta has offered to share their banned passenger lists with other airlines—and urge all airlines to do the same to keep disruptors out of the air for good.

If you’re unsure of just how bad it’s gotten, let us remind you that several of the disruptions onboard have far surpassed the basics of passengers who refuse to wear masks. We recently shared how at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) alone, there have been over 15 weird, wild, and WTF incidents involving travelers everywhere from the terminal to the tarmac to 10,000 feet up on the plane. As the number of aggressive and non-compliant incidents have soared, we’ve seen expected tantrums of folks refusing to comply with onboard mask mandates to unacceptable acts of physical violence and sexual harassment to people lighting up while onboard to people kicking open windows, rushing the cockpit, jumping out of planes, and more.

Having airlines share these lists would help them identify potential trouble sources and travelers with a documented history of bad behavior, ideally resulting in fewer unruly incidents. Plus, it ups the ante for anyone considering acting up, knowing they would be banned from several airlines for acting out of line.

No word yet from the other airlines on whether or not they would accept Delta’s banned passenger list or share their own.