As if it wasn’t bad enough for airlines having to deal with COVID-19 passenger safety, plus trying to stay financially afloat for almost a year with minimal revenue, the seditionist attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6 has now led to scores of travelers being added to no-fly lists at multiple airlines.
Just one day after the Capitol break-in, Alaska Airlines banned 14 passengers from future flights on the carrier after they were disruptive and abusive on a flight from Washington, D.C. to Seattle. Many of these travelers refused to wear masks, a requirement on all airlines, and they harrassed both other customers and the cabin crew. Delta Air Lines removed two customers from a flight to Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP) for unruly behavior on January 8th, and an American Airlines pilot reprimanded passengers at the request of flight attendants during another flight from D.C.
Delta Air LInes announced its banning of numerous customers who were seen (and heard) harrassing Senators Mitt Romney (R-Utah) and Lindsay Graham (R- South Carolina) as they were waiting at the airport for their respective flights home. Video taken of both situations corroborated that pro-Trump voters were clearly overzealous in their approach to each senator, and were heard yelling “audit the vote” and “you know it was rigged”, referring to the November 3, 2020 presidential election. For many years, Romney has chosen to fly in the coach cabin with no special benefits afforded him. This places him in the boarding area just like you and me, where he also boards each flight according to his seat assignment.
Each airline maintains an internal no-fly list which is separate from the list compiled by the U.S. Federal Government. The Federal Aviation Administration issued an order a week after the riot stipulating that non-compliant and/or unruly passengers will no longer be warned or counseled about their behavior, as has been the procedure up until recently. They may now be denied boarding at the first indication of being uncooperative.
FAA Administrator Steve Dickson said, “The FAA has seen a disturbing increase in incidents where airline passengers have disrupted flights with threatening or violent behavior. These incidents have stemmed both from passengers’ refusal to wear masks and from recent violence at the U.S. Capitol.”
Several airlines have decided not to serve alcohol on flights to and from Washington, D.C.’s three major airports as a precautionary move, for the foreseeable future. These airports are Washington National (DCA-Reagan), Washington Dulles (IAD), and Baltimore-Washington International Airport (BWI).
Since in-flight mask mandates went into effect last year nearly 3,000 travelers have been banned from flying on U.S. carriers. These numbers include: Alaska Airlines, 302; Allegiant Airlines, 15; American Airlines, will not specify but estimated to be several hundred; Delta Air Lines, 700+; Frontier Airlines, 500+; Hawaiian Air, 56; JetBlue, 144; Spirit Airlines, 432; Southwest Airlines, will not specify but estimated to be several hundred; United Airlines, 615. The no-fly designation remains in effect until each airline determines that the COVID-19 rules can be relaxed as it pertains to masks, but can also be a date to-be-determined individually by each carrier for each customer.