Delta Airlines proposes nationwide no-fly list of unruly passengers

Photo of Joshua Bote
In this May 28, 2020, file photo, a Delta Airlines employee wears personal protective equipment after landing at Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport.

In this May 28, 2020, file photo, a Delta Airlines employee wears personal protective equipment after landing at Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport.

John Minchillo/Associated Press

As unruly airplane passengers continue to rattle the travel industry, Delta Airlines is suggesting a novel solution: A national "no-fly" list, shared between airlines, of those who have caused trouble on flights during the course of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The airline has asked competing airlines to share their "no-fly" list "to further protect airline employees across the country," according to a memo sent by Delta senior vice president Kristen Manion Taylor to flight attendants last Thursday.

"A list of banned customers doesn’t work as well if that customer can fly with another airline," Taylor said in the note, also sent to the House of Representatives' Transportation Committee.

The note also states that Delta's internal flight ban includes 1,600 fliers, 600 of whom were reported to the Federal Aviation Administration, possibly due to the severity of their behavior.

Unruly passengers continue to be a problem for airlines, even as they ramp up restrictions on alcohol in planes. Southwest and American are among the airlines that have prohibited booze on flights.

So far this year, the FAA has reported nearly 4,500 unruly passenger incidents — 3,200 of which were related to mask-wearing.

While the number has leveled off as airlines and the FAA have cracked down on incidents with fines and other restrictions, according to CNBC, the FAA still says that the current rate "remains too high" at six incidents per 10,000 flights.

The agency has fined unruly passengers a combined $1 million in 2021 as of this week.