The FAA says airlines must crack down harder on unruly passengers – and is giving them 1 week to respond

flight attendant
PROSPEROUS BAY, SAINT HELENA - OCTOBER 21: An air stewardess waits for the steps to be placed at the aeroplane door on the runway at St Helena airport on October 21, 2017 in Prosperous Bay, Saint Helena. Following the introduction of weekly flights to the island, resident St Helenians, known locally as 'Saints', are preparing for a potential influx of tourists and investment as well as enjoying the possibilities brought by much faster transport links with South Africa. Previously, travel to the island involved travelling for a week by the Royal Mail Ship (RMS) 'Saint Helena' from Cape Town. Saint Helena is a 46 square mile island in the South Atlantic which has been under British control since 1834.

The Federal Aviation Administration asked airlines to provide information on their efforts to reduce passenger violence within one week.

The FAA met with trade groups representing Delta, American, United, and other airlines on Tuesday regarding the country's passenger violence crisis, Reuters reported. The federal agency reportedly told airlines to "commit to take more action" to stop violence on board.

"Aviation safety is a collaborative effort," FAA administrator Steve Dickson said in a tweet. "Thank you to [Airlines for America], [Regional Airline Association] and [National Air Carrier Association] for your continued partnership and substantial work to help reduce unruly behavior. Look forward to continuing our work together to protect passengers and crew."

The FAA will hold similar meetings with airport and labor representatives, Reuters reported.

The FAA has received about 4,000 reports of unruly passenger violence between January and September 2021. Most of the reports related to passengers refusing to wear a mask.

Flight attendants have born the brunt of violence on airlines. One in five flight attendants said they've had a passenger get physically angry with them, according to the industry's largest union.

Flight attendants told Insider they've feared for their safety due to the risk of violence on board after many have reported being punched, spat on, and called racial slurs by passengers. Attendants said their mental health has declined due to regular verbal harassment from frustrated passengers.

The federal agency has proposed more than $1 million in fines for unruly passengers this year, but flight attendant union leader Sara Nelson asked the FAA and Department of Justice for further protection.

"It is time to make the FAA 'zero tolerance' policy permanent, the Department of Justice to utilize existing statute to conduct criminal prosecution, and implement a series of actions proposed by our union to keep problems on the ground and respond effectively in the event of incidents," Nelson said in July.

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