Here Are The Steps American Airlines Is Taking To Stop Unruly Passengers

At a ‘Crew News’ employee town hall session last week, a recording of which was reviewed by View From The Wing, American Airlines Vice President of Inflight Brady Byrnes shared with flight attendants the steps the airline has taken to manage what they’re going through with disruptive and unruly passengers – and passengers who won’t wear masks.

On the whole, and while it varies from flight to flight, I’ve found American Airlines cabin crew to be more confrontational over masks than flight attendants at other airlines. On average United crew seem to ‘write it up’ and otherwise don’t confront masks, in contrast, and so they have fewer incidents going viral in social media.

Byrnes described,

  • The introduction of a new “mask compliance form” and a “tightened” investigation process for unruly customers. The airline’s passenger disturbance form now requires a second flight attendant to sign off now, because “it’s much more difficult for a customer to dispute” the facts that way.

  • The acronym the airline uses to ban unruly passengers, A.C.T., they need ‘accurate information’ that’s corroborated (second signer on the form) though this time he said C was for ‘collaboration’, submitted timely.

  • How customer misconduct reports now get follow up to the flight attendant that submits it when the misconduct rises to ‘a certain level’ so that crew realize something is being done.

  • That corporate security has been working with airports to stop ‘to go’ alcohol sales – and that they were successful with Charlotte but restaurants there are back selling alcohol to go again and that Dallas – Fort Worth did bartender training on the issue.

  • There’s new digital signage at American’s gates ‘don’t mess with flight crew, don’t mess with representatives of the airline, we will prosecute you’

  • The airline continuing to give up inflight revenue by keeping alcohol sales out of coach cabins.

Molly Wilkinson, American’s Vice President of Regulatory and International Government Affairs, added that the Chief Enforcement Office of the FAA “had a half time FTE dealing with this pre-covid, They have now gone to 5 full time employees on this alone investigating customer violations and they’re trying to expand in next year’s budget.”

It seems as though airlines are getting better at this just as the craziest inflight incidents – though still appalling – are becoming a bit more rare, and the FAA is ramping up enforcement just as there’s a bit less to enforce.

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. How about lobby the Federal Government to lift this ridiculous, politically motivated and ineffective mask mandate. There are so many examples including concerts and sporting events but also entire states really being mostly mask free including crowded inside and outside venues such as amusement parks and the cases and issues still are sporadically attributed to these venues and whether there are strict flashpoint mask rules or not the rules seem to be not a factor because virus spread occurs where there are strict rules or not. The rules always seem to generate and bring to the surface personal views that no matter what we do will always be there. I know some in your following probably would be just fine with an authoritarian state based upon comments I’ve read before. However, I have learned that people generally value their freedom even if they are fine temporarily giving some freedoms up to gain something like safety. The problem is like with TSA patdowns, as this nonsense keeps getting older most people are realizing it is just that…nonsense. It is time to deal with the root of this problem and not continue to figure out ways to ram a stupid policy down the throats of customers. Realizing that these policies began by the airlines and were made administrative law…during a time of significant political division….and now we are seeing legislation against and for masking in response….so the division continues …we simply need to go back to the model of allowing people to do what they feel is best…something that we are doing all over now in travel. Arguably, there is less risk in the planes due to airflow yet this is the last real holdout for draconian mask rules. It is time to deal with the root of the problem. It has never been wise to set up conflict points and this mandate has done this either unwittingly or most likely purposely. If the airlines show the government that THEY want this mandate gone we will go back to normal sooner than later.

  2. The only real difference between AA and other airlines is AA FA’s much more confrontational approach. Getting a second FA to sign a form doesn’t provide proof but nobody should honestly believe that being banned by any airline is a process that remotely mirrors anything in the US criminal justice system.
    Alcohol sales aren’t the issue including in the terminal. If anything, banning alcohol sales incentivizes passengers to “load up” before they get on board, something that is not necessary if you can buy something onboard. Airports simply aren’t going to give up revenue because one airline has a passenger problem.
    When American and every other airline begins to accept that they have a role in solving the lack of civility that is rampant across western societies (it is not just a US problem), then we can make progress together. Passengers need to accept that, for now, masks are part of the airline experience. Protesting should take place on the steps of government buildings, not on airplanes. If you get drunk or high and misbehave, you may forfeit the right to ever fly on a US airline.
    But airlines also have to figure out how to deal w/ passenger misbehavior w/o ruining the experience for the rest of the passengers and onboard and w/o enflaming already raw situations.

  3. ‘don’t mess with flight crew, don’t mess with representatives of the airline, we will prosecute you’

    Is that the actual message or was he paraphrasing? I understand the need for some kind of warning given the terrible edge cases we’ve all heard about, but wow… that’s a broad message and AA crew don’t need further incentives to treat customers in an authoritative manner in non-threatening situations.

  4. Enough from the anti mask cultists – Masks have been scientifically proven to be an effective tool against spreading Covid 19 & its variations. Unfortunately mandates are necessary due to the narcissism & politicization of Covid pandemic by cultists – the dissemination of dangerous & deadly disinformation, lies & the willful & overt ignorance by those with zero respect or regard for the greater good.. These reprehensible moral cowards are ripping our Republic apart at the seams.

  5. @Franklin Souze
    To paraphrase what you’re saying is that all these fools are following the misinformation that Chump and his administration created. That makes all these fools “Chump Fools”. May they all vote for Chump again. Have a very good time “Chump Fools” as you deserve it.

  6. On average United crew seem to ‘write it up’ and otherwise don’t confront masks, in contrast, and so they have fewer incidents going viral in social media. – Does this mean that United Crews are picking and choosing which regulations they are willing to follow/ enforce? What about customers that want to stand up before the aircraft is not at the gate with the seatbelt sign off? Or choose to wander about the cabin, even when instructed otherwise? We all tick the box when we buy the damn ticket, affirming what we are agreeing to and masks regs are one of the items. Don’t like the mask regs, then take it out on the people that write the regs, not the aircrew that has to enforce them. Problem solved. And BTW, I’m sure UA crews are working hard to enforce the regs…maybe it’s just pure luck they have not had a pax issue go viral….oh wait, wasn’t there a dr…..

  7. @Mark Rascio – absolutely…
    As soon as general population vax rates hit 95%.
    Or that only vaxed people fly.

    Until then, no. Because living in a society means living with others.

    You can always just buy your own plane, if you do not care to deal with the general population.

  8. @Mark Rascio – absolutely…
    As soon as general population vax rates hit 95%.
    Or that only vaxed people fly.

    Until then, no. Because living in a society means living with others.

    You can always just buy your own plane, if you do not care to deal with the general population.

  9. I am traveling in Chile now. They take COVID seriously. Want to dine in? You need you vaccine passport. Want to travel more than 200km by bus or train, you need a vaccine passport. Want to fly, you need your vaccine passport. Oh and it is a barcode that merchants can scan, not some flimsy piece of paper. Oh, masks are required both indoors and outdoors if near others. Restaurants still space but transport is at 100 percent. The COVID positivity rate here is 1/16 of the USA. I am tired of the stupid morons who value freedom. You can reopen the economy and save lives. The USA is such a backwards place, especially in Red America. Oh, and to get into Chile your vaccines must be validated. You must test both before and after arrival and buy travel insurance. You also quarantine until your on arrival test comes back and it took 3 hours. I feel so much safer here than in most of America.

  10. Or @Zabraitis you require vaccine passports for much in life like Chile. Close to 95 percent have at least one shot and 76 percent have had three shits and they are preparing to give out the fourth shot. You don’t have to mandate shots, just make normal life near impossible and folks get vaccinated

  11. @Franklin Souze and @Rog

    Good to see you keeping up with the insults and mood affiliation. I imagine you two consider yourselves rational folx who “follow the science.” Have you actually read about the “gold standard” (ugh) RCTs on mask efficacy in preventing influenza-like infections? Not a single one demonstrates conclusively that masks work as they do in your fascist Fauci dreamland. The Bangladeshi RCT that mask cultists vaunted as proof that masks work only showed perhaps a 10% relative risk reduction if one actually accepts the results of this flawed study. A Vietnamese RCT found that cloth mask wearers were infected at three times the rate of the unmasked!

    I wouldn’t go so far as to say that all masks don’t work, but mask mandates certainly do not. Maybe if we had universal N95 adoption, but that will never happen, so just stop the insanity. How many millions of dollars have been wasted on plastic barriers and face shields? Do you think an aerosolized virus can’t get around open plastic (or through a porous cloth mask)? People are not acting rationally, but that is to be expected. Pandemic theater, just like security theater, must stop.

  12. @Zebraitis and @Arlington Traveler

    Why not make normal life near impossible for the obese? They are burdens on society in non-pandemic times as well. Segregation is the way to civilization, comrades! Vaccines work! That is why we should get them three or four times a year!

  13. @franklin please provide detailed, robust data that shows that makes work. I live in a mask mandated area where cases are going up? If masks work, can you explain why this would be? You probably can’t. And btw, I don’t wear a mask. Yelled at two people today who asked me to wear one.

Comments are closed.