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September 24, 2021

Delta is urging airlines to coordinate with each other by sharing internal "no-fly" lists, arguing a ban doesn’t work if a passenger can travel on another airline, according to a report. The airline has grounded some 1,600 passengers from its planes amid a surge of unruly travelers during the coronavirus pandemic, mainly those who have caused disruptions after refusing to wear a federally required mask, according to The New York Times. The airlines’ "no-fly" lists are separate from the one maintained by the FBI, which focuses on terrorism threats. 

"We've also asked other airlines to share their "no-fly" list to further protect airline employees across the industry – something we know is top of mind for you as well," Kristen Manion Taylor, senior vice president of in-flight services at Delta, wrote a memo to its flight attendants Wednesday. "A list of banned customers doesn't work as well if that customer can fly with another airline."

The House of Representatives Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure is holding hearings this week on the surge of unruly fliers this week and Delta is expected to participate in the meeting. The FAA has compiled nearly 4,300 "unruly passenger reports" already this year, Sara Nelson, the president of the Association of Flight Attendants union, testified in a Thursday hearing. 

"If we continue at this rate, there may be more incidents in 2021 than in the entire history of aviation," she warned. She also supported a collaborative "no-fly" list. 

American Airlines flight attendant Teddy Andrews testified a passenger had called him a racial slur after he asked the person to put on a mask. "It feels like flight attendants have become the target for all kinds of frustrations that some people are feeling,".

Analyst View
It appears that unruly air travel passengers will soon have their days with judgment and many may have to seek alternative means of air travel perhaps flying cars. However, there is a need to clearly identify and notify passengers of what really constitutes "no-fly" behaviour and character, otherwise, there will be a lot of suits and countersuits within the purview of the airline industry.