23:24 GMT25 July 2021
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    Late last month, the US Department of Transportation's Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced it would be proposing civil penalties - ranging from $9,000 to $15,000 - against at least five unruly airline passengers. At the time, the FAA had logged a total of 2,500 similar reports of bad behavior, including 1,900 facemask incidents.

    Ten airline advocacy groups, including Airlines for America and the Allied Pilots Association, issued a letter to the US Department of Justice (DoJ) on Monday, calling on the DoJ to pursue the "public prosecution" of violent airline passengers. 

    "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," read the letter, as reported by NBC News

    The organizations' plea comes months after the FAA announced it would be implementing a zero-tolerance policy toward rowdy or unruly passengers. Rather than receiving a warning, offenders would be slapped with fines and/or jail time, according to FAA Administrator Stephen Dickson in January. 

    One organization, Airlines for America, issued a separate letter to Dickson on the matter, calling for increased enforcement of onboard policies. 

    "Unfortunately, we continue to see onboard behavior deteriorating into heinous acts, including assaults, threats and intimidation of crewmembers that directly interfere with the performance of crewmember duties and jeopardize the safety and security of everyone onboard the aircraft," the organization said. 

    "We respectfully request that the FAA and other federal agencies amplify the messaging to reach all travelers about the proposed penalties in addition to using all resources, including the media, to put a very public spotlight on the sentences handed down to perpetrators." 

    Just last month, the FAA proposed to fine an airline passenger $52,500 - largest fine against an air traveler this year - after he punched a flight attendant in the face and tried to open the door to the aircraft's cockpit. 

    At the time, Dickson told ABC News that the "alarming increase" in disruptive, and sometimes violent passengers is something the FAA will "need to get under control." 

    "This is something we should all be concerned about," he added.

    More recently, a male passenger aboard Delta Air Lines Flight 1730 from Los Angeles, California, to Atlanta, Georgia, attempted to open the cabin door mid-flight, and had to be restrained by fellow passengers and crew members. The man was later identified as a disgruntled, off-duty employee of the airline.  


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