Rate Of Unruly Air Passenger Incidents In US Dropped By 80%: FAA

Rate Of Unruly Air Passenger Incidents In US Dropped By 80%: FAA

August 9, 2023

The rate of unruly passenger incidents on board flights in the United States has dropped by more than 80 percent since record-highs set in early 2021, according to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

From 5,973 reports of unruly passengers that FAA received two years ago, the numbers have dropped to 2,455 unruly passenger reports in 2022 and 1,177 reports in 2023 as of August 6, the U.S. aviation agency data shows.

Following the spike reported amid Covid-19 pandemic restrictions, Attorney General Merrick Garland directed the Department of Justice to prioritize the prosecution of unruly passengers on commercial aircraft.

In the second quarter of 2023, FAA referred 22 unruly passenger cases to the Federal Bureau of Investigation for criminal prosecution review, bringing the total number of such cases this year to 39.

In its latest report, FAA cited incidents such as cursing and throwing objects at passengers and the attacker restrained in cuffs, attempt to breach the cockpit, sexual misconduct towards flight attendants, sexually assaulting female passenger, and sexually assaulting unaccompanied minor.

The FAA has referred more than 270 of the most serious cases to the FBI since late 2021 under a partnership between the two federal agencies aimed at ensuring unruly airline passengers face criminal prosecution when warranted.

The FAA pursues legal enforcement action against any passenger who assaults, threatens, intimidates, or interferes with airline crewmembers, and can propose fines up to $37,000.

“Unruly behavior poses serious safety concerns for passengers and crew alike, which is why we are addressing this issue aggressively,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.

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