The world according to Covid is a far cry from life before the virus. With more than 700,00 Americans now dead from Covid-19 and nearly 5 million worldwide having lost their lives, it isn’t surprising that many people have gone a bit bonkers due to mask requirements, vaccines, restaurants closed or only serving take-away food, and most cultural events from concerts to museums to sporting events cancelled or severly restricted.
While cries of “we’re all in this together” may sound good, that clearly isn’t the perception of a large number of people. Airline passengers, unfortunately, are no different, as the last year and a half has seen a huge spike in inflight incidents brought on by seemingly crazed travelers. Even with some airlines including Southwest and American not serving alcohol inflight until at least 2022, previously unheard of actions by angry passengers have placed everyday travelers at extreme risk.
No longer is punching a fellow passenger or attempting to choke a flight attendant a total surprise. In fact, just yesterday, an American Airlines passenger arriving at Miami International Airport decided that he wanted to deplane the aircraft via an emergency exit, as he went out the window and climbed onto the wing. And last week a Jet Blue passenger en route from Boston to Miami decided that he would try to choke a flight attendant with her uniform tie, while at the same time screaming to be shot.
Delta Air LInes alone has placed more than 1,600 passengers on its no-fly list, and every other airline has a similar list of varying lengths. Customers who refuse to wear a mask or wear it properly, are physically or verbally abusive, or who one way or another present a risk to the aircraft, crew or other passengers have been taken off of planes by police on many occasions, and often are arrested. Delta is now suggesting that the U.S. airlines band together to share their lists of banned passengers, so that unruly travelers are banned from ALL U.S. carriers, not just the one airline where the incident occured.
This seems to be a no-brainer that should be implemented as soon as possible. Wouldn’t it be great if travelers couldn’t fly if they aren’t vaccinated, too? Most fliers would rest a lot easier if unvaccinated, and/or banned travelers weren’t an issue on future flights. The Federal Aviation Administration reported this week that it has to-date received 4,385 reports just this year about unruly customers, with 3,199 of these being incidents where a passenger refused to wear a mask.
FAA investigations into unruly passsengers has spiked from 183 in all of 2020 to a startling 789 so far this year. The agency has requested more than $! million in fines this year for enforcement of regulations at airports and inflight.