US will give priority to prosecuting unruly air travelers
Attorney General Merrick B. Garland directed prosecutors on Wednesday to prioritize prosecution of federal crimes on commercial planes, as millions of passengers make their way across the United States for Thanksgiving, the most-travelled holiday in the country. .
As travel in the United States nears pre-pandemic levels, the federal government has intensified the prosecution of crimes on flights, in particular for passengers refusing to follow COVID protocols. In some cases, passengers have assaulted or threatened flight attendants.
Federal law prohibits attacks, threats and threats of violence that interfere with workers on flights, as well as other criminal acts that may occur during flight.
Reports entered into the Aviation Safety Reporting System database by flight attendants often describe a chaotic, non-stop workplace where passengers routinely misbehave with airline employees.
“Passengers who attack, threaten or threaten violence against flight crew and flight attendants do more than harm those employees; they prevent the performance of vital duties that help ensure safe air travel.” do,” Mr Garland said in a statement on Wednesday.
In the past year, there have been 5,338 undocumented passenger reports, and 3,856 mask-related incidents, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.
Historically, the FAA has handled these cases with civil penalties, warning notices, and counseling. However, under the current zero-tolerance policy towards unruly passengers established in January, the FAA has opted to charge an unruly passenger with a civil penalty. A passenger can be fined up to $37,000 per violation, and cited for multiple violations at once.
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