A number of videos have been shared on social media claiming airline passengers are being denied boarding because they’ve been added to the government’s “No Fly List” after participating in protests and riots at the U.S. Capitol last week. That hasn’t been true – although it is about to come true, according to Delta Air Lines.
Union boss Sara Nelson first called for those who participated in disruption of the electoral count last week to be banned from flying on U.S. commercial airlines. That was followed by the Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee Bennie Thompson (D-MS) demanding this as well.
That hasn’t happened to far. However during Delta’s earnings call the airline shared that they expect people will be added to federal no fly list from Capitol riots,
We certainly know that the TSA is looking very carefully at those that were in the capitol building, the rioters, and we are working closely with them and I do anticipate that that if the TSA is able to identify individuals you’ll have people added to the no fly list no question about it.
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.
Individual airlines are free to choose to ban passengers. Delta, which has banned over 800 passengers for refusing to wear masks, increased the total by “a number” but “not a huge number” since last week’s events. Having the government ban travel on all airlines without judicial review is frightening in a democracy.
And if it’s justified now in being used against people not yet convicted of crimes then it will be used against unpopular people later. Remember that expansions of power will be used later by the people you hate when they have power. Any new power should be one you’re comfortable with the next President Trump having and using.
In advance of next week’s Presidential Inauguration, Delta has banned firearms in checked luggage and American Airlines has again banned alcohol on DC flights.