FAA Seeks Further Penalties Against Unruly Passengers

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is continuing to crack down on bad behaviour. Most recently, the FAA has…

FAA Seeks Further Penalties Against Unruly Passengers

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is continuing to crack down on bad behaviour. Most recently, the FAA has proposed penalties ranging from US$9,000 to $52,500. This follows some egregious instances of passenger misconduct.

One Delta passenger is facing a $52,500 fine after a major disturbance on a Honolulu-bound flight. Photo: Vincenzo Pace/Simple Flying

FAA cracks down on unruly passenger behavior

With bad behavior rising in airports and on airlines, the FAA is now enforcing a zero-tolerance policy towards passengers who cause inflight disturbances or ignore follow crew instructions. The policy was to last until March 31 but has since been extended.

Airlines have referred approximately 1,300 cases of passenger bad behavior to the FAA since February. Driving the rise in bad behavior, which can range from minor disturbances to a significant ruckus, is the face mask regime. The FAA also cites a spike in bad behavior inflight around the time of the January disturbances in Washington DC.

Federal law forbids interfering with aircraft crew or physically assaulting or threatening to physically assault aircraft crew or anyone else on an aircraft. When it comes to interfering with the performance of a crewmember’s duties by assaulting or intimidating that crewmember, federal law provides for criminal fines and imprisonment.

Since early this year, the FAA has toughened its stance against unruly passengers. The agency had a previous policy of issuing warning letters in many cases.

“The FAA has seen a disturbing increase in incidents where airline passengers have disrupted flights with threatening or violent behavior,” says FAA Administrator Steve Dickson. Mr Dickson said flying was the safest mode of travel. He also noted that by cracking down on bad behavior, he intended to keep it that way.

The FAA’s Steve Dickson has no time for misbehaving passengers. Photo: Getty Images

Proposed fines ranges from $9,000 to $52,500

Most recently, the FAA has proposed fines against a range of passengers. That includes a $9000 fine for an Allegiant Air passenger who refused to wear a face mask inflight correctly. That passenger also declined to follow instructions from a flight attendant, and swore at flight attendants. A JetBlue passenger faces a hefty $18,500 fine after refusing to correctly wear his face mask and continuing to drink his own alcohol inflight after being asked not to.

A Southwest Airlines passenger upped the bad behavior stakes on New Year’s Day. As a result, he is now facing a $27,000 fine. His behavior was so bad, he was taken into police custody after the plane diverted to Oklahoma City. According to the FAA, “the passenger began yelling and forcefully banging his hands on the seat in front of him, disturbing nearby passengers. During the flight, he yelled that he was going to kill someone and that he had a bomb and was going to blow up the aircraft.”

A Southwest passenger faces a substantial fine after an inflight bomb threat. Photo: Vincenzo Pace/Simple Flying

A Delta passenger wins the bad behavior prize

The FAA is saving its biggest proposed fine, $52,500, for a Honolulu-bound Delta passenger. That passenger tried to open the cockpit door, refused to follow instructions, and then repeatedly physically assaulted a flight attendant. Police met the plane on arrival, and the man was taken into custody.

Earlier this month, Delta Air Lines said it had banned around 1,200 passengers for failing to wear a face mask or not wearing a face mask properly. However, the airline notes not all cases made it to the FAA.

Airlines and their employees who work on the frontline and face the brunt of passenger misconduct have welcomed the FAA’s tough stance. Delta CEO Ed Bastian has outlined his view on badly behaved passengers. While he does not speak for other airlines, he has captured the general consensus.

“Those who refuse to display basic civility to our people or their fellow travelers are not welcome on Delta. Their actions will not be tolerated, and they will not have the privilege of flying our airline ever again.”

Source : Simple Flying More   

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Rebounding Travel: US Passenger Numbers Edge Closer To 2 Million

Just about every week, the US is beating out its passenger numbers. The growth seen over the recent…

Rebounding Travel: US Passenger Numbers Edge Closer To 2 Million

Just about every week, the US is beating out its passenger numbers. The growth seen over the recent weeks in daily numbers is a testament to the rebounding American air travel market. As summer approaches, the US on Sunday, May 16th, saw 1.85 million passengers take to the sky. If current trends continue, then this summer could see a return to pre-crisis levels.

Travelers are coming back, and airlines are bringing their capacity back accordingly. Photo: Getty Images

The US hits new record daily traveler numbers

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) recorded 1,850,531 passengers entering through a security screening checkpoint. This beat out the previous record set only a few days before, on May 13th, of 1,743,515 passengers.

This was the first day since the start of the crisis when the TSA saw over 1.8 million people fly in one day. Sundays are typically high water marks for passenger numbers and emphasize the strength of leisure customers in the airline recovery.

Passengers Getty
Travel numbers are still trending upwards, though there is still room to go until numbers hit a full recovery. Photo: Getty Images

Stay informed:  for our daily and weekly aviation news digests.

A growing number of travelers

Since March, passenger numbers in the US have seen a strong upward trend. As vaccinations roll out, travel restrictions come down, and people have more reasons or are more willing to fly, airlines have seen bookings go up, and more seats go out filled.

Tuesdays and Wednesdays continue to remain lower travel days, as they are usually heavier business traveler days. However, as the summer vacations roll out and leisure travelers start to have more flexibility without kids in school, those days should also see a similar bump in travel. These two weekdays have also seen improving travel numbers.

The graph below shows excellent growth with daily variability:

Daily Traveler Numebrs
Daily passenger numbers show variations but are, in general, on an upward trend. Data: TSA | Graph: Simple Flying

Looking at week-to-week data, some other trends are evident:

Weekly passenger numbers
Weekly TSA passenger numbers. Data: TSA | Graph: Simple Flying

There was significant, as in multi-million passenger growth, from week to week in March. Mid-March, which is when most schools go on spring break and families and college students travel, saw significant passenger growth. It was around mid-March when passenger numbers started to register above one million in a day consistently.

Comparing it to 2019, weekly numbers are starting to recover significantly:

2019 vs. 2021 Travel Numbers
Comparing weekly traveler numbers from 2019 to 2021. Data: TSA | Graph: Simple Flying

Currently, numbers are around 65-66% of what they were in 2019 and remain on an upward trend. In early March, numbers were around half of what they were in 2021.

Memorial Day, which is only two weeks away, is a holiday to watch. An unofficial start to the summer, this long weekend should help propel passenger numbers upwards. Memorial Day could be the holiday that pushes daily numbers above two million. If it does, it could set the tone for summer.

Stay informed:  for our daily and weekly aviation news digests.

Summer momentum

Assuming passenger numbers continue their upward trend, this should position the recovery at north of 70%, and even into the 80% range, this summer. United Airlines, today, announced it was boosting its July schedules, bringing it to 80% of pre-crisis capacity in the US.

US Airlines Getty
The summer is expected to be a good one. Photo: Getty Images

As international travel restrictions start to come down, this should also increase the number of passengers taking to the skies. Also, on the international front, Latin America, the Caribbean, and Mexico show strong signs of a rebound, and some airlines have pointed larger planes to the region to capture increased demand.

Passengers are coming back. Airlines are still not out of the woods yet when it comes to profitability, but the airline industry is well on its way to recovery. As passenger numbers increase, loads and yields should follow. While airlines will still need to do some demand stimulation on price in select markets and days, the revenue management systems can start to turn back on, and airlines can have some more command over pricing.

Are you planning summer travel? What do you think about returning passenger travel demand? Let us know in the comments!

Source : Simple Flying More   

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