Published On: Thu, Apr 14th, 2022

80 cases of unruly airline travelers flagged to FBI for possible prosecution since last year

The Federal Aviation Administration has referred 80 cases of unruly travelers for possible prosecution in the past year, officials said Wednesday, part of what was a dramatic spike in on-board misbehavior during the coronavirus pandemic.

Eighty incidents between mid-January of last year through Tuesday have been sent to the FBI for further examination and possible criminal charges, the FAA said in a statement.

Thirty-seven of the referrals came in 2021, and there have been 43 more already this year, officials said.

The new data come days after Delta Airlines asked the Justice Department to add unruly passengers to the national “no fly” list.

In a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland, Delta CEO Ed Bastian said that “the rate of incidents with unruly passengers on Delta has increased nearly 100 percent since 2019” and that such federal action is greatly needed.

The FAA has been seeking to shed more light on cases of unruly behavior as part of its “Zero Tolerance” campaign against on-board offenses.

Both the airlines and unions are seeking increased federal help to combat the trend. And Garland directed government prosecutors in November to make federal crimes on commercial airliners a priority.

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