Airlines ask Justice Dept. to crack down on unruly, mask-flouting passengers


Airlines are tired of their misbehaving customers, and their customers are evidently tired of them and misbehaving even more. The behavior of airline passengers is now coming to a head, however, with a request that the U.S. Justice Department get involved.

In a letter to the Justice Department, Airlines of America, pilots associations, unions, and others, the aviation community is asking the federal government to take a more rigid stand to enforce against “egregious behavior” aboard airlines.

“We highly commend the Federal Aviation Administration (“FAA”) for adopting a stricter legal enforcement policy against unruly airline passengers through Administrator Dickson’s Special Emphasis Enforcement Program. We especially appreciate FAA’s ongoing efforts to investigate incidents, levy civil penalties for passengers’ behavior that interferes with crewmembers and publicize its enforcement actions. These efforts include FAA’s announcements of a combined $368,000 in civil penalty actions against 21 passengers to date,” the airline association wrote.

“However, we ask that more be done to deter egregious behavior, which is in violation of federal law and crewmember instruction. Specifically, the federal government should send a strong and consistent message through criminal enforcement that compliance with federal law and upholding aviation safety are of paramount importance,” Airlines of America continued.

Since January 13, the FAA has received more than 3,039 reports of unruly behavior onboard airlines, and has opened 465 investigations into assaults, threats of assault, or interference with crew members. The FAA has pursued some form of enforcement action more than 400 times through May, compared to a year-end total of 146 in 2019. Presumably the number is less for 2020, since much of airline travel was shut down.

Through the third week of May, the FAA had reported action taken against several passengers, with fines levied from $9,000 to $15,000. FAA said there were about 1,900 reports of passengers refusing to comply with the “federal facemask mandate,” including one case on Alaska Airlines on Jan. 7, 2021, when people returning from the election protest in Washington, D.C. were returning to SeaTac International Airport.

The cases are as follows:

  • $15,000 against a passenger on a Jan. 7, 2021, Alaska Airlines flight from Washington-Dulles International Airport to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. The FAA alleges the passenger pushed and/or shoved a flight attendant when flight attendants walked down the aisle to document which passengers were not wearing facemasks.
  • $15,000 against a passenger on a Feb. 22, 2021, jetBlue Airlines flight from Miami, Fla., to Los Angeles, Calif. The passenger was seated in the main cabin. The FAA alleges another passenger brought her a glass of champagne, headset and food from the first-class section. A flight attendant noticed the main-cabin passenger had those items, picked them up, and carried them back to the first-class section. The main-cabin passenger yelled obscenities at the flight attendant and followed him to the first-class section, then assaulted the flight attendant by hitting him with her body and almost pushing him into the lavatory. As a result of her actions, the captain diverted the plane to Austin, Texas, where the main-cabin passenger was removed from the aircraft.
  • $15,000 against a passenger on a Jan. 10, 2021, jetBlue Airlines flight from Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., to Los Angeles, Calif. The FAA alleges the passenger twice drank his own alcohol after flight attendants told him it was prohibited. The passenger also talked on his cell phone during the flight. After the flight attendant again told him those activities were not allowed, he repeatedly yelled at the flight attendant. Flight attendants notified the pilots about the passenger’s behavior, which distracted them from performing their duties.
  • $10,500 against a passenger on a March 17, 2021, jetBlue Airlines flight from Orlando, Fla., to New York City. The FAA alleges that after the boarding door had closed and following multiple announcements about the requirement to wear facemasks, the passenger was not wearing his facemask or not wearing it so it covered his mouth and nose. Flight attendants repeatedly instructed him to wear his facemask properly. Each time, he failed to comply with the instructions and used profanity. A flight attendant knelt down next to him, quietly asked him to lower his voice, and reminded him of the facemask requirement. He refused to comply and continued to yell and use profanity. Flight attendants notified the captain, who called for a station agent and ground security coordinator to board the aircraft. When they arrived and asked the passenger to get off the plane, he became combative and irate and loudly refused to get off. The captain then called for law enforcement. After law enforcement arrived, the passenger continued to be combative and irate and initially refused to get off the aircraft. When he gathered his belongings to leave the plane, he started screaming at a flight attendant. The passenger’s actions delayed the flight’s departure by 28 minutes.
  • $9,000 against a passenger on a Feb. 20, 2021, Southwest Airlines flight from Oakland, Calif., to Houston, Texas. The FAA alleges a flight attendant asked the passenger to pull his facemask up so it covered his nose. The passenger refused to comply with the instruction. The flight attendant then gave the passenger a mask, and he threw it on the floor, saying he would not wear it. The flight attendant explained the CDC and TSA mask requirement again and asked the passenger to acknowledge what she was saying. He said he would not comply with the policy and that facemask-wearing would not be enforced in Texas. The cabin crew alerted the captain about the passenger’s behavior, and the captain arranged for law enforcement to meet the aircraft when it arrived in Houston.

Those signing the letter to the Justice Department were:

Airlines for America
Air Line Pilots Association
Allied Pilots Association
Association of Flight Attendants
Association of Professional Flight Attendants Coalition of Airline Pilots Association National Air Carrier Association
Regional Airline Association
Southwest Airlines Pilots Association Transport Workers Union of America


  1. Apparently AkAir doesn’t understand nor read the Science which says masks are useless. USELESS!

  2. What do they expect the airline industry and particularly the airlines continue to reduce the size of the seats and space inside the airplanes, limit the items that you can bring on and charge enormous fees for everything while they continue to make large profits. Maybe if they would get back into the business of being customer friendly then they would have less problems. Instead they push for intervention of the government and less about fixing their own failures.

  3. A big problem is that the mask requirement is stupid. Masks give the illusion of protection. The masks that are generally acceptable don’t seal so how can they protect? Again the feds and various other governments are BSing us. It looks like many of the problems would disappear were the stupid mask requirement to disappear.

  4. The requirement to wear masks aboard passenger aircraft and at airports is not federal law, it is a federal mandate. Only congress can pass laws and to my knowledge they haven’t passed any laws requiring the wearing of masks. That may not preclude federal agencies from mandating mask wearing but it certainly isn’t law. I did get Alaska Airlines customer service to admit that in writing back in May.

  5. Passengers should stop flying with mask nazis airlines. Whether you believe face mask work or not, with passengers literally sitting on top of one another, those damn flimsy bacteria infested cloth does nothing but show the world you’ll obey. Airlines are businesses and the more Americans stop flying it’ll cut into their pocket books and eventually they’ll wake up. Then again unfortunately, whenever big corporations start failing, big government will step in and bail them out with Americans tax payers money.

  6. Why don’t they ask Chairman Biden’s Administration to remove the requirement to wear a mask? Now that we know that, not only does it NOT work, but it is unhealthy. Any entity that continues to push masks or vaccines on people is a Leftist, terrorist organization.

  7. Hear hear, Phillip!

    These idiotic and ANTI-scientific mask mandates are purely hygiene theater and enforced virtue signaling, as well as enforced conformity and enforced compliance with nonsensical and fascist corporate/governmental (is there a difference anymore?) dictates.

    “Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities”.

  8. They’ve already admitted they are nothing but theatrics/respect. I have a right not to “respect” anyone. My freedoms are not respected when I’m forced to wear a diaper. Alaska Air used to be a decent airline with friendly stewardesses. They’ve turned into the Gestatpo of the air.

  9. Let’s just stop buying their tickets and watch them go bankrupt! You can stick your masks where the sun don’t shine! It is a complete and total unconstitutional lie that masks stop viruses because they don’t! Stop kneeling to these pathological liars. This whole thing with COVID is about controlling the population, period! The sooner we ignore these idiots and stop giving them money, they will figure it out.

  10. They get rid of the mask mandate and the incidents will drop. That is just a fact. There is enforcement and then there are the SkyKarens who have to go way above and beyond and wake up the 5 year old who’s mask has slightly dropped, and wake the whole family on the red eye to portland just to show their wokeness.. the latter is not the whole problem, but it’s a lot of it. That said, there are idiots who are using mask frustration to unleash the most reckless of behaviors. As far as I’m concerned if you get physical with flight crew, or anyone else on an airplane, you need the book thrown at you- in flight? Excluding self defense or someone restraining someone who is violent, It should be mandatory federal jail time.

  11. I thought Biden said this mask thing was just going to be 100 days? I guess he fooled everyone.

  12. I agree Philip. We used to be able to reply to someone’s post, I like giving thumbs up! but that option doesn’t work anymore.

  13. Fight card looks like:
    Airlines of America, pilots associations, unions, and others, the aviation community, Justice Department
    Paying customers who don’t properly appreciate a government-subsidized industry’s “mask mandate” as an excuse for lousy rotten in-flight service passed off as China flu panic.
    Customers might justifiably despise the whole sorry lot, but customers can’t do much about it until the current administration’s gone, and/or a majority of America’s senate is replaced with representatives instead of rulers, or charter flights can be arranged as economically as Uber rides.
    What to do until that happy moment? Stifle your justifiable resentment. Obey your corporate flightmasters, wear your fearmasks, stay outta jail. This godd(hey!) shi(hey!) can’t last forever. Sooner or later Somebody Powerful’s gonna say, enough already, and it’ll all flush away, kinda like a another bad inflight “meal”.
    Until then, BOHICA*
    *(Bend Over Here It Comes Again)

  14. It is all about the mask requirement. And the problem with that is that the science isn’t at all definitive. Memo to Panda Joe and the airlines: People are not stupid. They have recognized an arbitrary and irrational requirement and are resisting. Government needs to take a moment, realize that the mandate is useless and not supported by the evidence and end it.

  15. Yes that guy who calls himself the president. What’s his name again.
    He said, just mask up for 100 days wait it got extended to July. What’s it’s going to be at his next press talk.
    Just keep masking up, we’re all most there, are you Kidding me.
    What the blank. That’s why I have not traveled by air.
    What about all the other Stupid sheep wearing a mask. In there own home by themselves, in a car by themselves, walking on a trail OUTSIDE by themselves. ALL SHEEP go directly to the cliffs edge now.
    So we can get back to living are life’s, with out all you, Woke STUPID people, trying to shame us.
    Yes we need to let others live the way they see fit, if your Afraid wear your mask, but stop telling me how to live.

  16. No excuse for bad behavior – right on Lawrence. But it is seriously past time to remove the face diaper mandate (except it should always apply to the msm).

  17. The air in an airplane is refreshed/swapped so often, the odds of you catching an airborne disease are almost zero. Yes, that includes the common cold and the flu.
    Masks are meaningless on an aircraft.
    That does not mean you cannot catch a disease, but odds are, it is from tactile contact with a surface containing that disease, not from the air. The armrest, tray, seatbelt (bet you glossed over that one), the overhead bin. All of those are far more likely to have bacteria and viruses living on them than the cabin air.
    But, because low intelligence individuals say so, we have to wear masks.

  18. I wore this on my last flight: https:// fake mask / the-double-incognito-fake-mask/

    It worked in that the flight crew didn’t notice I was wearing a thin piece of mesh over my face rather than a “proper” mask. Breathing is nice.

  19. Looks like the groups are all union or union affiliates of some sort.

    No industry will do well in the long run making war against its customers. Too many wannabee Martinets working for the airlines are more interested in playing a sick game of Simon Says than in the safe conduct of flights.

    Following instructions of the crew is one thing. Following idiotic masking mandates and onboard masking rules (and on the concourses before and after flight) is another thing entirely.

    Finally, every single airline bellied up to the bar for bailout money last year. They all got that money. Apparently they no longer think they need to cater to the needs and interests of their customers as Uncle Sugar is now paying the freight. Cheers –

  20. But….but…but. According to Larry Persily who crafted a 3rd rate opinion piece in a recent Daily Abuse article wearing masks on airplanes is the LAW, not to mention his virtue signal that it’s somehow my responsibility to protect him?? It’s embarrassing a former editor can’t look up the now proven science on this one. Let me help him…….Masks do not protect you Larry.

  21. These ‘mandates’ are just like mandatory multi-factor authentication for online accounts. A Trojan Horse.

    Your authority over you is being seized by force in the name of arbitrarily assigned safety parameters.

    Safety is a religion, it can be very helpful. Since the scope of those boundaries of safety are defined by whoever has been given the authority to, safety is only as safe as someone says it is, not as it actually is.

    It is scientifically known, even to the authority they are totally deferring to (CDC), that masks do little to stop viruses.

    That the CDC encourages them anyway is the ‘scientific’ rationale for enforcement.

    Now it is a political power struggle. Government, knowing what they can’t do legally, are actively encouraging business to do the dirty deed.

    As heinous as this strategy against citizens (their liberties paramount in the face of death itself) by a government in place to serve, businesses are now being emboldened by the notion that they can do whatever they want within the parameters of their business, including arbitrarily assigning your rights as if they can selectively separate them from you. There is a measure of truth to that with employees.

    But I assert that a business is an existential and perpetual invitation to you – the whole public – to engage in commerce. They do NOT equate to an individual, corporeal living citizen with regards to Constitutional tenets.

    They, including owner and employee, are ‘virtual’ entities. I do agree there are aspects of business rights that are insurmountable. But with regards to this, they are assigning a threat status to people base only on the premise of not knowing if you are a threat or not. Business is even LICENSED purposed to the end of serving the public. Citizens are not. The most vulgar aspect of this story is the airline officials beseeching GOVERNMENT to oppress them more. Draconian is understating.

    Craig Jelenek of Costco decided to cease authority from the people as well, denying people goods and services if they do not ‘comply’ to his arbitrary mandate. And they are one of the ‘essential’ businesses that enjoyed record profits at the cost of all the others that government vulgarly violated. Business does not have the right to dispense of your rights after inviting you to engage in commerce (which can be arguably a ‘survival’ situation). “Comply or starve” “Comply or else” “Comply or die”. I understand the ‘fear’ factor. But your fear does not authorize government to tread on ME because you don’t know if I am a threat to you or not. Ironic, this proves that you are the threat to me.

  22. The Wuhan virus is just another way for billionaire companies as well as the government of stealing money from the middle class and enriching themselves. FACTS have never supported their actions ❗️

  23. I strongly suggest that the airlines enforce the “mandated” social distancing. Whatever happened to that? Oh, I forgot–it’s all about the $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$.

  24. They will soon be begging for another taxpayer bailout after bullying their customers and forcing people to quit flying. I’m sick of these airlines and the idiot mask mandate!

  25. Instead of asking for stiffer penalties, how about the airlines ask for the mask mandate to be removed. The airlines have implemented new cleaning protocols and seem to be doing a great job keeping the plane as clean as possible. They should have been doing that before the great pandemic, but hey, flying is less germ ridden as it was and therefore already a better experience in terms of cleanliness.

  26. @ James, did the double incognito really let a decent amount of air in? I’ve got half a mind to file an ADA violation over this nonsense. I have asthma, allergies, and my face and nose swell when the heat gets trapped against them. I literally get dizzy when I reduce my oxygen supply at such high levels. I totally get how some react forcefully when someone demands they reduce their airflow. I definitely avoid such areas as much as possible. However, when it became “illegal” this past May to go out my front door in Taiwan without wearing an anti-breathing device, I took the hit up front and flew back home to Alaska. Haven’t worn one since the airport. My workaround on the flights was to pull the suffocating device up off of my face and breath in deeply as needed. Anyhow, if the double incognito allows the air to come in and out, then I think I’ll pick one up for those times when avoidance becomes impossible.

  27. Boycott the airlines and not fly. I know it’s Alaska and we fly a lot, but we’re going have to bite the bullet and dig in our heels and say “no more”. Companies need to understand and cater to what their customers want- unmolested travel.

    Airlines- clean up your act or be prepared to go broke like other “woke” companies.

  28. Soooooo… would you all go to the doctor for an operation and not care that your doctor and nurses aren’t masking up. They do work, that’s why they wear them. Tell your dentist not to wear a mask next time he’s giving you a root canal. Don’t wear a mask next time you’re painting.

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