FAA Clamps Down On Airport, Airborne Misbehavior

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Flight attendants are applauding a new zero-tolerance stance by the FAA for bad behavior by passengers. The agency has announced that misbehaving passengers will no longer get a warning before they face significant punishment. The action, which is in force until the end of March, stems from a rash of airborne confrontations between unruly passengers and cabin crew, some of them involving participants in the Jan. 6 political rally in Washington, D.C. In a statement, the FAA said the policy will also apply to incidents of “politically motivated harassment” in airports like that experienced by several members of Congress in the last week. Fines of up to $35,000 and jail terms can be levied against violators.

“First strike and you’re out,” said Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants. “We applaud FAA Administrator (Steve) Dickson for taking this clear stand for our safety and security.” Flight attendants dealt with numerous incidents of bad behavior in the days before and after Jan. 6, notably the refusal by some passengers to wear masks and the harassment of other passengers for their political beliefs. The FBI is worried about an escalation in anti-government violence surrounding the inauguration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris on Wednesday

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42 COMMENTS

    • So you’re saying chanting allahu akbar, God is great, as a Muslim is ok in passenger cabins? Get off your high horse. Commercial airlines are not government owned so each airline sets rules of civil behavior. Yelling, chanting out loud or screaming rallying cries is not civil behavior. I love America but don’t shout USA! USA! when I fly. Respect for civil behavior in passenger airlines means packed cabins full of people enjoy quietness to read, speak in normal conversational tones, ponder the vastness of the skies when looking out a window, enjoying the quiet company of passengers respecting others wanting the same. If you need to scream USA! USA! then charter a plane so you can yell along with others in content. The majority of the public paid to fly in commercial airlines in relative comfort without someone screaming loud chants.

      • Really? So if the next bunch of people misbehaving sing Amazing Grace we will cancel that as well? Seems a poor response to me.

        Theirs a right and wrong time to chant, which is why zero tolerance policies should be dealt with by a zero tolerance policy.

        “If your organization is so lacking in judgment, responsibility, and people skills that you must have a zero tolerance policy to keep behavior within bounds, your organization has failed. The leadership which formulated and established such a policy is to be terminated immediately and for cause. This will therefore be the last and only zero tolerance policy in any worthwhile organization or institution.”

  1. “Since when is chanting “USA”, in the USA, political?”

    What happened to proper personal discipline, etiquette, and proper public demeanor that is a basic requirement of civility, especially in close quarters such as an airliner? Freedom demands those civil responsibilities which includes being respectful on an airliner…or anywhere else in life. Poor behavior is poor behavior. The stakes are incredibly high exercising poor public behavior today.

    Have we lost all sense of personal standards of civil behavior because we have a political preference? Apparently so. It appears political expression allows for poor behavior in that expression…no matter what.

    Since when is loudly chanting aboard an airliner appropriate behavior? An airplane cabin is not an organized outdoor rally. No matter what your politics are, behaving inappropriately makes whatever or whomever you support offensive. I love my country. I don’t need to chant USA! USA! in an airplane cabin to let people know my allegiance. I believe, if you love your country, abiding by the laws of the land including showing respect for people and the atmosphere you and others occupy speaks volumes for US support. Showing proper decorum that complies with the rules promulgated by airline in which each person boarding had previously agreed to adhere by is the most effective way to show excellent character. It appears some cannot discern the difference in their surroundings from a professional wrestling match, pep or political rally and an airliner cabin.

    And I can see the next argument…what constitutes bad behavior and who legally defines that? There is an old adage worn on many biker T-shirts that says…”If I have to explain it, you would not understand”. If one have to explain what basic good societal behavior is, our country is closer to anarchy than most want to admit.

  2. What is wrong with us? I read the comments from some pilots here and it amazes me the lack of concern for other people they have. If I am sitting on a plane, even as an American I don’t want to here chanting of “USA” since these days it tends to not represent the best of us. Now imagine you’re a foreign flyer and wondering why they are doing this when the last big news item is insurrection.

    Flying is not a right. It is not government operated so if any air carrier wants to impose a restriction, or needs to follow FAA requirements, so be it….don’t fly or don’t fly in that airline. Better yet, you want to chant USA or I Love Trump, or Black Lives Matter then learn to fly and do it in your own plane…the FAA won’t mind.

    The point is, the FAA should not have needed to impose such a rule if people would act in a civilized manner in a tight, closed environment. Barring decorum from passengers regarding basic pandemic rules and the lack of respect and civility that is occurring, I’ll pass on flying because while I may trust the crew to get me to a destination safely, given some of the comments above, I doubt the ability for American’s to act civil and that scares me more.

    • Point is that people WERE just enjoying the trip home and, after being harassed, started chanting “USA”. Personally I would have responded differently to the sanctimonious taunting but “USA” is actually very nice and very innocuous.

    • Airlines have many limitations to their “private company” abilities. This isn’t at all new, and I’m kind of at a loss on how this “private company “ thing keeps coming up. Similarly, right vs privilege is pretty much a distinction without a difference outside of a court where it makes a lot less difference than most people seem to think.

      It’s almost always best to just drop these arguments and just say how you think things ought to be unless you are a lawyer (in which case most of us don’t care what you think. 😛).

      Clearly, chanting can be too much noise for safety and comfort. Clearly, if the Captain announces we have just beaten a communist country for an Olympic gold medal a certain amount of “USA” is appropriate.

      So clearly, this policy, and the cowardly little nazis behind it, need to be dropped immediately.

  3. Aviation Law flows from Maritime Law.
    The relevant phrase quoted re Maritime Law, is that “The Captain is Master after God”.

    When you are on an aircraft, you are under the authority of the Captain, and through the Captain, the Crew.
    If you are told to do certain things, you must do them; no option.

    Under International Law, the Captain is a Peace Officer, with ultimate power over you.
    If you don’t want to behave properly or follow the direction of the crew, don’t get on the plane; full stop.

    Kudos to the FAA for moving from “warnings” to immediate action; long overdue.

    (36 years in a non American Airline; usually bad behaviour is tied to alcohol; my airline banned a Government Minister because of bad behaviour; subsequently, that person was banned by other airlines for the same reason; the companies were fully supported by the government; take notes FAA!)

  4. Chanting ANYTHING if it disrupts the aircraft crew or distrurbs other passengers is not allowed!! The Captain has a final say in ANY dispute on his aircraft! If he says STOP, you MUST stop, or face being ejected, arrested, charged, convicted and fined, with the real possibility of receiving a life ban on at least the airline concerned, if not the whole US airline system.

  5. Protect essential air commerce. I had high hopes for Trump but quickly realized we had put a self-serving megalomaniacal con man in The White House. Lately we see him exhorting “his people” to attack Michigan’s government [for trying to control COVID], then our Capitol, and now raise hell and kick ass wherever they go [including delicate flying cigar tube airliners] as a way of getting his “brand” noticed… the same “leader” and “followers” whose common bond is that they constantly eagerly deny verifiable reality.
    Sad to see so many Trumpettes have infiltrated the pilot ranks… which calls into question their judgment.
    Sad to see NONE of those recognize themselves displaying four of the 5 FAA Hazardous Attitudes:
    anti-authority, impulsivity, invulnerability, macho.
    Glad to see when their treasonous cult leader was caught in the act, yet refused to avail himself of the fifth [resignation] the Congress impeached him. Hopefully [but unlikely] there will be enough republican senators with sufficient integrity, ethics, and respect for The Constitution and democracy to convict, forever shame, and neutralize this worst and most dangerous President in history BY FAR.
    PS Congratulations co-conspirators. At least one lone wolf will try to use GA to disrupt the inauguration and even if shot down will trigger a tidal wave of restrictions on our privilege of flying (NOT a right).

  6. Besides as others mentioned of the Captain being *the* authority, chants of any kind on an aircraft becomes a safety factor. How? It’s hard enough to hear what the Captain and Crew are saying due to the noise, but add on top of that chants and now it becomes almost impossible to hear announcements.

  7. Our country divided is in grave danger. For those of us who fully understand how effective the game play of divide and conquer is you realize the divide part of that play has pretty much been fully realized. As a country we need to come together as Americans. We don’t have to agree with one another but need to respect one another’s right to an opinion without labeling those individuals who disagree with us as our enemies.

    I remember listening to my dad’s stories from his tenure as a 27 year airline captain. There were several stories where he landed aircraft short of their destination to have unruly passengers removed from the aircraft before continuing on to their destination. My memory was that the passengers remaining on the aircraft applauded the actions of the crew despite the inconvenience. As a paying passenger you bought a seat aboard an aircraft to safely move you from point A to point B with some resonsble expectation of comfort. Each person on board that aircraft needs to respect the others persons right to realize that expectation.

  8. Can I gently suggest that we’re focusing on the wrong thing? I suspect most of us believe that the best guide for human interactions was invented two thousand years ago. And if we ask ourselves whether, in the things we’re talking about here, we’re using that as our model, I fear we’d fall short. Should we encourage anger, and behavior that, if it were directed at us, we’d find frightening, or hurtful? I don’t think this is about what Caesar’s doing to us, but about what we’re doing to each other. It’s weird that we need Caesar to remind us of the rules we’re supposed to follow, but these are strange times.

  9. I am glad Mr. Dickson and the flight attendants union are responding to a zero tolerance view of airline/commercial cabin misbehavior. As with any law or regulation, it has to cover the behavior of the lowest common denominator of poor behavior. I would anticipate more definition or increasingly more govmit regulation when people purposefully start pushing the test buttons of poor behavior as a challenge to proper, civilized decorum they seem to think is so restrictive and apparently so foreign in nature to them.

    I also find it ironic the extreme side wanting less government seems to be taking the path of misbehavior that invites more government intervention rather than less. I question the other extreme side wanting more government intervention into our lives. Is the pathway for more government involvement into our lives have to be defined by destruction and chaos as clearly demonstrated by several cities besieged by 10 months of almost continual rioting and looting?

    It is clear to me, more than anytime in my personal life, our political leadership foremost on the national level, the state level not far behind, and largely even at the local level, does not represent me, my values, nor my family, being clueless on what constitutes and is important to our daily lives. My sphere of influence includes both political parties and libertarians’. They feel the same way, regardless of they wear a red or blue hat, or any other political color.

    What I sense in recent months is 155-165 million folks who feel likewise about or political leadership, as well as, getting downright angry deep down inside that extremist groups on both sides are systematically hijacking the representation of this same demographic. It’s one thing to realize and deal with the frustration we have no government representation. Its quite another to add the mayhem conducted by extremist groups of both sides claiming THEY represent middle America too!

    When United Flight 93 got hijacked on 9/11, there were average middle-class American’s individuals on board who had no intention or desire to be “heroes” that day. They got on an airliner expecting civility, proper decorum, and was abiding by those same expectations. That normal, cabin civility was eventually violated turning slowly turning chaotic. It took awhile to comprehend what was happening around them. But when it was understood they were being hijacked that is when average American’s expecting civility, expecting normal good behavior, took action. “Let’s roll” was their self-sacrificing words…said not in any sophomoric chant…but in quiet but powerful reserve taking those words into heroic, self-sacrificing action that saved untold other lives.

    I think the average American citizen is feeling similar vibes that we are collectively being hijacked by our political leadership and extremist factions on both sides of the aisle, making claims they represent us. I feel a growing sentiment that when we fully comprehend the situation our political leaders and extremist groups have put us into, there will be a quiet “lets roll” followed by strong action that will unite more of us than divide us. Like Yamamoto said, ” I am afraid we woke a sleeping giant”.

  10. I come from the airline side, but my main reference is how people behave in general. Freedoms can be abused. A recent pole asked a group of people: if you could please anyone today, who would it be? Shockingly, the majority did not say my spouse, my child, my neighbor, my boss, my teacher, my friend, no…they said “myself”. I’m hearing a lot of that mentality right here. If airline passengers can’t get along with each other or the crew for any reason, it creates a potentially wide array of problems that may go far beyond a simple delay. Crew rest limits, flight planning for worsening weather, lack of facilities due to time of day, a passenger missing a critical connection, or outright cancellation of a flight, are just a few of the undesirable consequences that immediately come to mind. I really implore those who, thankfully, still ride on airplanes in this age to do their best to get along, which may include putting overt personalities on hold during the flight. Please.

  11. I don’t know about “behavior”, that’s a broad stroke my friend. can we be a little more clear?
    Ordinarily I’d make my right wing wacko rant here and call out Paul for being a schmuck. I would slink into my mothers dimly lit basement where I metamorphose back into an internet troll to write something diminutive about the doucharelli just to make myself feel better, but I actually agree. I really really agree. Planes are NOT a place to do anything but sit there and shut up, actually don’t even talk to me unless it’s to excuse yourself to the lavatory. The test is – nothing about a plane should ever make the news, if it does, it’s bad. Not your singing, not your chanting not your gd emotional support pony. Not on this crampy little flying tube with a bunch of people who didn’t sign up for this bs. Besides it’s hard to watch you idiots without live coverage. It’s not as entertaining without the obligatory swat team with batons to really sik it to the crowd. There is not enough room to slog it out in the aisle and there certainly isn’t enough room for your disgustingly fat ass spilling over the armrest into my seat. As much as I want to protest that I suck it up and smell your bo all the way to where ever was that was so important I thought I had to fly commercial. I do fear that they will confound disruptive with unsafe just to further their own political agenda, but you should be expect that by now. If you follow my rules though (and lose some weight ya big fat fatty), you’ll be fine.