Lifting the Mask Mandate for Air Travel Would Do a Lot More to Cut Down on Unruly Passengers Than an Expanded No-Fly List

Executives at airlines are asking for the federal government’s expansion of its no fly list to allow unruly passengers, rather than removing the masking rules which make so many passengers disruptive.

Media outlets covered a letter that Delta CEO Ed Bastian sent to U.S. Attorney general Merrick Garland on Thursday asking for a “zero tolerance policy” regarding in-flight disruption. Bastian requested that all passengers who were convicted of disrupting a flight’s operation be included in a “no fly” national list. This would prohibit them from flying with any commercial airline.

Bastian wrote, “This action will prevent future incidents” and served as a strong symbol for the negative consequences of crew members not following instructions on commercial airplanes. Bastian’s letter was copied by a travel website. The Points Guy.

This would constitute a very severe punishment. As follows: There are reasons‘s C.J. Ciaramella called it “a nightmare for civil liberties: secretive, almost impossible to challenge”

Once placed on the list, it’s exceedingly difficult to have one’s name removed from it—even for people who never should have been added in the first place.

People were added to the federal no fly list as a result of mistakes in identities or clerical errors. Federal authorities also had a baseless suspicion that they were terrorism suspects. A clerical error led to one person being added to the federal no-fly list. She spent over a decade trying for her rights to fly again.

In an age when mask mandates are common, creating a new no fly list for “unruly passengers” could lead to a lot of people being caught. Bastian wrote that Delta had put 1,900 people on its “unruly passengers” no-fly lists for failing to comply with the masking rules. 4.290 out of 5,981 incidents that were reported to the Federal Aviation Administration by passengers last year, was mask-related.

A significant increase in FAA enforcement actions may also be due to disputes between flight attendants, passengers, and other people. Unruly passenger investigations increased from 183 to 1,099 between 2020 and 2021 according to FAA reports, which led 350 enforcement actions.

The FAA does not have the power to charge people with criminal offences. Bastian asked for people who were “convicted” of disrupting behavior to be prohibited from flying commercially. This means that it is possible that there would be a smaller number of those subject to the no-fly unruly list and some degree of due process.

Delta’s most recent proposal is still being opposed by civil liberties activists.

Jay Stanley is a senior policy analyst with the American Civil Liberties Union. He stated, “Generally speaking, it’s a bad idea.” NPR. “Our experiences with government ban lists and watch lists have not been positive.”

It might be easier and less autoritarian to lift federal requirements that passengers use masks while on flights.

It is legal to wear a mask in almost every part of the country. It’s difficult to understand why stricter masking regulations are required on well-ventilated planes, where there is a low risk of COVID-19 infection.

It is annoyingly burdensome to have to mask your face when you spend long hours on airplanes or at airports. Masks may be the reason for so many flight-related incidents.

While this doesn’t necessarily excuse violent behaviour by any passenger, it does indicate that there are simple ways to stop it.