Airlines Ban Passengers For Bad Behavior That Takes Place On Other Carriers

Flight attendants have wanted a ‘national banned passenger list’ for customers who behave badly since the start of the year. The Department of Homeland Security No Fly List would be for terrorists, for people unlucky enough to have the wrong box checked on an FBI form, and for people who drink too much on planes.

In September Delta Air Lines proposed that passengers banned from any airline over mask violations should be banned from all airlines. Of course each airline has its own standard for adding passengers to such a list.

And that’s something American Airlines CEO Doug Parker pointed out in response to an employee question this past week at an internal Crew News session with executives, a recording of which was reviewed by View From The Wing. Yet where there’s egregious behavior that becomes public, airlines will ban a passenger even when their actions took place on another airline.

After mentioning the passenger who broke a crewmember’s nose on a cross country flight in October he shared that this person wouldn’t be able to fly other airlines, and that in similar circumstances where someone did that on another airline American wouldn’t let that person fly either.

The other thing people have asked, why don’t we share these lists with other airlines? There’s some legal issue with doing that, about again some ariline might have a different standard than we have. But in this case, if we saw at Delta or United that this individual did that, they wouldn’t fly on us. So that does happen. We can’t go share our own investigations with each other and things like that and say this individual can’t fly you so they’re not going to fly us. But we can use every piece of information we have. And we have this information. So I’m certain United, Delta, and others are not going to let this individual on their airplane either. I know we wouldn’t.

On the one hand, that’s reasonable. An airline shouldn’t have to accept someone for transportation that they believe represents a threat to employees or the safety of the aircraft. On the other hand, stories are frequently misreported or only partially reported at least initially. So one would hope that this discretion is used judiciously and sparingly, only in the clearest-cut of cases where there’s physical jeopardy at issue.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

More articles by Gary Leff »


  1. Airlines banning passengers represents extrajudicial punishment for which there’s no system of recourse or appeal. This dystopian situation gives any principled American pause. Miss me with the “private businesses can do whatever they want” nonsense. Transportation is essential and private businesses can’t do whatever they want anyway. Airlines may be deregulated but the FAA still exists. And there’s DOT. Not to mention DHS. Hey, if an international airline carries a passenger who turns out to be deemed inadmissible to a foreign country, that airline is required to carry the passenger back home, even if it means bumping a paid confirmed passenger on the return flight. What happens in case of a banned passenger?

    No bans on passengers please. Better solution? Lock people up. Then, they won’t be a threat on airlines or anywhere else in public.

  2. To translate to pain English what’s being said: airlines in the US can’t share information about their passengers, for a variety of trust and privacy reasons. But if a passenger makes the news for unruly behavior, that information is public, and airlines, as private companies, are under no obligation to carry passengers. Sure, they can’t discriminate on a variety of grounds, but “being in the news for seeming to be a bad passenger” is not one of them. You have no inherent right to fly on an airline’s planes.
    Of course, if an airline takes a passenger to a country where that person is not welcome, the airline will have to take that person back, regardless of whether it banned the person in the interim. Generally, though, I imagine that, in such cases, the person would more likely be first charged and tried for the offenses committed on board, and then expelled.

    Moral of the story: you’re a paying guest, don’t be an ass.

  3. I think airlines have every right to protect their crew and other passengers from people known to behave in ways that represent an actual threat to them. And I agree with the concept that just banning such people from one airline isn’t a real solution since there are several carriers available to most markets.

    I think the standard should be different in cases of other types of inappropriate speech or behavior, and I also think crew need serious training in de-escalating conflict. I get such training and sign off annually on a policy committing me to it, as do all employees.

  4. American Airlines and its CEO Doug Parker are the new thought leaders in establishing a “banned passenger” database of undesirable passenger behavior while flying on a competing airline. By using reputable news sources like Facebook, TikTok, and Wikipedia, this new database could help all airlines eliminate the riff-raff taking advantage of our global transportation system. As Doug Parker points out, “if we saw at Delta or United that this individual did that, they wouldn’t fly on us.”

    I wonder if CEO Parker will consider banning passengers from American Airlines flights when he sees a passenger in a YouTube video with their nose exposed due to their face mask slipping down while riding on a Greyhound bus?

    I know passengers who must use an Uber or Lyft as alternative transportation for a 300-mile road trip to their destination due to their canceled American Airlines flight. If they do not tip sufficiently, they could be designated “deplorable passengers” worthy of honor, distinction, and inclusion on the American Airlines banned passenger database.

  5. You could save a lot of time: get the list of Parler ap users, add to national banned passenger list…

    Et Voila ! Problem solved.

  6. Now that airlines are taking bad passenger behavior and assault more seriously – and bringing offenders to court – it would seem sensible that a convicted passenger whose actions occurred on one airline should be prohibited from flying on other airlines.

    If you lose your license for drunk driving in Texas, you can’t drive in any other states either.

  7. The pushback on having and industry ‘list’ is interesting. Most people aren’t aware, but the insurance industry has been aggregating consumer data (both for fraud and for ‘profit protection’) at an industry level for a long time … look at CLUE reports, MIB database. Good luck shopping a Life Insurance policy or other policy, if you feel that you’ve had bad/incorrect data in these reports.

    Facebook, Google, and your internet providers sell your browsing data (and location history) across industries and to a variety of actors all day, every day.

    Every try to fix an error on a credit report. Ha!

    So, in looking at an airline industry database for people who have been removed for incidents, etc, (when compared to other ‘industry databases’) I feel like this is a fart in a windstorm. Sure, there would need to be regulation and maybe a police report policy for the worst offenders, but still.

    In the stack rank of how industries use your personal data to a consumer’s detriment/disadvantage, and airline industry database is nothing in comparison to how your data is already being used. For once, though, this data would actually have some benefit for the consumer. I’m all for it.

  8. @FF78 Google does not sell your browsing history nor location. They use the data themselves to target advertising to you and for their services such as traffic and crowd levels. They view the data as too valuable to sell..

  9. I’m all for it. Obnoxious jerks should not be allowed to fly’. I kinda wish they could never be out in public either. Really though during hundreds of flights I have never even experienced anyone being discourteous. Maybe the situation is exaggerated by the modern proliferation of video and tattling enablers. I think the offenses significant enough to make the news or resulting in an arrest do merit
    a no fly award. Awardees should be able to find out why they are on the list and to appeal.

  10. The airlines have no way to positively identify you as a person from the news.

    You have no recourse if they get it wrong.

    Gonna laugh when the proponents of this get their first batch of karma trying to travel and finding out somebody on a rival airline shared their name and caused a problem.

  11. Good move by the airlines. If someone acts so horrifically that an airline will actually ban them, there’s certainly a basis to believe that the person might act in a similar fashion on another airline.

    As to concerns about potential abuse, we’re talking about an incredibly small fraction of the flying public. If people are incapable of controlling themselves for hours, they shouldn’t be on a plane in the first place. Since the rest of us manage, this shouldn’t affect us except by making flying more pleasant.

  12. Maybe I’m simple – if you assault any member of flight crew – under no circumstances should you be allowed to travel via any public transportation method. PERIoD!
    There is rare if any circumstances whereas someone goes into a police precinct or courthouse and decides to assault the officer keeping the peace of safety – without significant ramifications.. Why is air travel different as if a passenger thought of assaulting a pilot or operation they’d be on the no fly list domestic maybe international plus federal charges and FAs are part of safety operations of aircraft.

  13. All Trumptard, anti maskers, anti vaxxers, anti common courtesy, anti humans, should be banned from the planet, never mind the airlines.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *