Biden Administration Wants Consideration Of National No Fly List For Violent Passengers

Delta Air Lines proposed banning mask-offender passengers from travel on all airlines. Their proposal had numerous problems, such as:

  • collusion between the airlines, while possible to work through creates thorny problems
  • due process, Delta was responding to government pressure to come up with a plan to address incidents, so would in effect have been acting as an agent of the government
  • different standards, each airline has different review standards for placing someone on a list of offenders, sharing that list and have every airline honor it becomes denial of travel for arbitrary reasons

This would effectively place mask non-compliant passengers on a list with the same effect as a terrorism no fly list which was recently leaked online and whose legality the ACLU is currently challenging. Nonetheless the Biden administration has considered adding ‘domestic extremists’ to terrorism lists.

Now the Biden administration is getting behind a national no fly list though – at least to start – only for violent passengers. Remember that David Dao was accused by many of being violent when he was removed from a United Express plane. His face bloodied an officer’s hand.

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said on Sunday that a federal no-fly list for violent airplane passengers should be evaluated.

“I think that should be on the table,” Buttigieg said of the potential list on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

By the way an Obama Homeland Security official wants the unvaxxed put on a national No Fly List as well.

The ‘No Fly List’ is the government’s pre-crime profiling that keeps people off of U.S. airlines and airlines flying to the U.S. It’s a secret list that people haven’t been entitled to know how they got on or to confront the evidence relied upon to put them on it. Legally there is very little recourse, and when challenged the government claims ‘state secrets.’

People get on the list by mistake (FBI agent checking the wrong box on the form or having a name similar to someone else) and even maliciously (such as retaliation for refusing to cooperate in an investigation). Denying the freedom of travel, without trial, is precisely the mob rule outside of the rule of law that we’re supposed to be pushing back on after last week’s events.

Violent passengers on planes should be addressed by prosecuting those passengers for their behavior and imposing punishments according to law, not by layering on administrative travel bans. Any punishment that encumbers an American’s right to travel should be subject to an appropriate level of judicial review and scrutiny.

In practice this tough talk probably just compensates for virtual non-enforcement of existing rules, despite press releases the FAA sends out to the contrary.

(HT: @crucker)

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 »

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  1. Of course ‘violent’ will at some point be expanded to include also mean ‘verbally violent’ (‘inciting’, ‘hate speech’ etc etc)
    I agree with what you said – address each case on it’s own and involve police / courts if needed. There is no need for another ‘list’. It should be kept for very sensitive issues such as national security.

  2. How much money do these political clickbait articles generate?
    Nowadays they’re a dime a dozen. All to pique both sides to hurl insults at one another.

  3. Common sense tells anyone if they start things on an airplane, chances are they’ll be removed. If they’ve been falsely accused and removed off of the flight and exonerated, then they have a right to SUE the police and the court, as well as the airlines. And/Or SUE the agent that arrested the suspect.

  4. I am all against the truly violent passengers, and also believe that disruptive passengers should be deplaned and fined for expenses caused for their behavior.

    BUT, how about when the abuse (verbal or otherwise) was unnecessarily initiated by a crew member, on the ground or in the air? When the airlines are going to reinforce training that they are in the hospitality and service business? When will there be a sense that the traveling public is the paying party for such service, and that we are not sheep?

    Granted, airline jobs dealing with the public have become harder and harder to perform. But if you going to apply for these jobs, please have the temperament and personality to perform such public service duties.

  5. Over the years, I have come across a few very rude and goose stepping airline employees. They are not common but they do exist. I do not want them to be the ones who say that I cannot fly.

    Airline dictator agent: Your carry on bag is too big.
    Me: See, it easily fits in the sizer (puts bag in the sizer)
    Airline dictator agent: You are defying me.
    Airline dictator agent: (mumbling to herself/himself) I will make him suffer for the rest of his life. Put this person on a no-fly list.

    I once was challenged by an AA agent about a carry on bag being too big even though it was the one that I always use. Nothing wrong with it.

  6. Oh perfect…..the only thing standing between you and never flying again is a false statement by a skyhag.
    America continues to implode.

  7. Address each case individually and if needed, the airline can ban the individual from flying with that particular airline.
    Most people who decide to act a fool on a plane do so before the flight has even left the gate so the chances of them being removed are fairly high.
    If they act up while the plane is airborne however, then the punishment should be fitting of the amount of danger their idiocy places others in.

    But creating a separate No Fly List or adding to the already existing list is wholly unnecessary when people like that are going to eventually pitch enough fits to get themselves banned from every other airline and thus, unable to fly anywhere.

    At the same time, airlines and their employees should not be given absolute authority over who can and cannot fly.
    If they want to be like that then they can stop being considered part of the American infrastructure and will no longer be eligible for government funding or bailouts.
    Want them to listen? Threaten the cash flow.

  8. There should NOT be a “do not fly” list.

    Instead, there should be a “fly” list.

    To get on the list, one must pass a test in civics.

  9. If a business wants to secure its property and places of business against violent customers that is one thing.

    It’s dangerous to liberal democracy when businesses collude and when businesses and government collude or cooperate to ostracize from society and normal life people who are otherwise free to move about and not “guilty” enough to lock up under and as a result of judicial watch and judicial action performed in the open under the rule of law and with the chance for an impartial jury to decide the matter in a free and open trial.

    If this kind of administrative blacklisting comes to be the norm in the US, perhaps civil disobedience can be done by legally changing the name of the blacklisted person to that of a famous living person — perhaps even a well-known political figure — with the same birthdate.

  10. That would be racist. Just look at the jail situation, the no-fly list would look similar.
    Rev Al and Jessie will be slobbering in front of the cameras

  11. Such a person can be subject to prosecution under criminal law or administrative law. If the person is prosecuted and found to be guilty / liable, the judge can impose a restraining order that forbids the person from flying on scheduled airline flights. TSA / FAA would maintain a list of such persons.

    That being said, an airline can choose not to do business with anyone (other than for recognized discriminatory reasons). This is not to say that it relates this to other airlines.

  12. It’s simple. Leave it up to the Courts. If someone is prosecuted, then part of the punishment (if they are found guilty) could be added to this no fly list for x months/years. That way, not the airlines, govt or anyone else doing so.

  13. Being placed on no fly list is arbitrary and those placed there have no formal constitutionally adequate way to challenge their inclusion on this list

    I am all for offenders being put on no fly but it can’t be under the same process

  14. The solution is easy. Those who forcibly deplaned and then indicted for crimes involving air travel are placed on the “do not fly” list. What is so hard about that? Those individuals go before a judge or jury and then are found guilty, do not belong flying again on any airline.

  15. @JohnB

    A couple issue. What countries judge and jury? In many cases actual laws haven’t been broken. There is more of an FAA zero tolerance policy for certain behaviors in the air that are misdemeanors or absolutely non events on the ground. The airlines and the FAA have the ability to put people on no fly lists with little to no constitutional ability to challenge

  16. Mets Fan in NC, you are wrong.

    In previous threads on this blog, relevant US statutes have been listed.

    People post on these discussions all too often say “oh, my rights, my rights” and they don’t know the law.

    A person has the right to swing their fist. But, it ends at the tip of another person’s nose.

    Take a refresher course in civics.

  17. @ Reno Joe

    I have absolutely no idea what you are trying to say

    Breaking actual laws should indeed be punished and the guilty should be punished. You have zero idea how no fly works or how airlines put you on their individual DNF list

    In no way am I condoning violence by passengers but there is sometimes punitive action that puts someone on DNF lists

    I’ve heard of people doing credit card charge backs during COVID for flights cancelled by airlines and those that have gone to small claims court against airlines for damages being banned. I’ve also heard of flight crews exaggerating the problem when in fact they were the accelerant

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