AG Garland orders tougher crackdown on rowdy airline passengers

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The federal authorities has ordered a tougher crackdown on unruly airline passengers, directing states to prioritize prosecuting rowdy fliers as hundreds of thousands of Americans journey for Thanksgiving. 

US Attorney General Merrick Garland issued the directive in a memo Wednesday, saying disorderly vacationers are interfering with important jobs of crews on airways “that help ensure safe air travel.”

“Passengers who assault, intimidate or threaten violence against flight crews and flight attendants do more than harm those employees; they prevent the performance of critical duties that help ensure safe air travel,” Garland mentioned. 

“Similarly, when passengers commit violent acts against other passengers in the close confines of a commercial aircraft, the conduct endangers everyone aboard,” he added. 

In the order, the Department of Justice famous that federal legislation bans “assaults, intimidation and threats of violence that interfere with flight crews and flight attendants.” 

Airlines have seen a large surge this yr within the variety of unruly passenger incidents, with over 5,300 instances reported.

On Monday, the Federal Aviation Administration revealed the company acquired practically 300 stories of passenger disturbances on account of alcohol and intoxication. Well over 3,800 of the full stories stem from passengers refusing to put on face coverings as federally mandated on flights. 

Garland's memo claimed that rowdy passengers "prevent the performance of critical duties that help ensure safe air travel."
Garland’s memo claimed that rowdy passengers “prevent the performance of critical duties that help ensure safe air travel.”
Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Earlier this yr, the Transportation Security Administration restarted self-defense programs for flight attendants to fight the growing variety of unruly passengers.

This yr, the FAA launched over 1,000 investigations stemming from complaints — essentially the most since 1995 when the company started maintaining monitor. 

The FAA has additionally created an information-sharing protocol with the Department of Justice to make sure the Department is conscious of prison conduct taking place on flights.

The protocol has led to referring dozens of incidents reported by the FAA to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Garland’s memo famous. 

There were over 5,300 unruly passenger incidents last year, according to the FAA.
There have been over 5,300 unruly passenger incidents final yr, in response to the FAA.
Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

“The Department of Justice is committed to using its resources to do its part to prevent violence, intimidation, threats of violence and other criminal behavior that endangers the safety of passengers, flight crews and flight attendants on commercial aircraft,” Garland mentioned Wednesday. 

The memo got here the day earlier than Thanksgiving, as round 48.3 million folks have been anticipated to journey a minimum of 50 miles from house over the vacation, in response to AAA. 

“We want to take people to New Orleans, Seattle, Fort Lauderdale, or to see Grandma,” Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA worldwide told Axios. “We don’t wish to take them to jail.

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