FAA to Crack Down on Unruly Air Passengers

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced on Monday that it would continue imposing its stern rules on unruly passengers, extending the zero-tolerance policy that it introduced in January.

According to the transportation agency, it has received more than 500 reports of misbehaving passengers since December 2020. Instead of expiring on March 30, the policy would be extended and would be enforced at least as long as the federal transportation face mask order remains in effect.

In a statement, FAA Administrator Steve Dickson said that the agency would continue implementing stern rules as the infection rate of coronavirus disease continuously increases because of the spreading of new variants.

“I have decided to extend the FAA’s unruly-passenger zero-tolerance policy as we continue to do everything we can to confront the pandemic,” Dickson said in his statement.

“The policy directs our safety inspectors and attorneys to take strong enforcement action against any passenger who disrupts or threatens the safety of a flight, with penalties ranging from fines to jail time. The number of cases we’re seeing is still far too high, and it tells us urgent action continues to be required.”

The safety concerns regarding the cases of unruly passengers were raised by the Flight attendants’ unions.

“Administrator Dickson’s strong stand in January for zero tolerance backed us up and this is no time to let down our guard now,” Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, said in a statement.

“The patchwork, politically skewed discussion around masks has created confusion and conflict,” she said, adding that everyone does not “have time for failure to comply with the federal mask mandate. On an airplane, that behavior puts everyone at risk and we can’t stand for that.”

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