New bill would create national no-fly list for passengers who get violent on airplanes

Members of Congress reintroduced legislation that would create a national no-fly list for passengers who participate in in-flight violence.

Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., along with Reps. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., and Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Pa., said in a news conference Wednesday that the protection from abusive passengers act would make flying safer for crewmembers and travelers alike.

"Passengers must get on board and follow the rules and not commit acts of violence," Reed said. "It would grant the TSA flexibility to develop this no-fly list and ensure it is fair, transparent and includes due process and the opportunity for appeal."

The same group of legislators introduced the bill last year but it was not voted into law.

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Federal Aviation Administration data shows that there were 831 unruly passenger incidents in 2022, up from 146 in 2019.

"We deserve to go to work and to come home in the same shape that we were in when we got there," said Jennifer Vitalo, a Southwest Airlines flight attendant who was attacked on the job and joined the legislators in announcing the reintroduced bill. "This legislation helps us to be able to do just that."

Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in Arlington, Virginia, on November 22, 2022.
Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in Arlington, Virginia, on November 22, 2022.

Reed, Swalwell and Fitzpatrick said they're optimistic that their bipartisan bill will get more support in this session of Congress, and added that individual airlines already have the ability to refuse service to unruly passengers. The proposed law would just provide a formal process for companies and authorities to work together to develop a cohesive list of those bad actors.

"Under the proposed legislation, TSA would create and manage a program which bars passengers who are fined or convicted of serious physical violence and abuse from flying on commercial aircrafts," a fact sheet about the bill said.

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Swalwell added in his remarks that the law would allow everyone to get to their destinations safely and with less stress.

"When it comes to violence: if you try, you will not fly," he said.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: National no-fly list proposed in response to rising midair violence