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FAA chief vows tough line after some Trump supporters disrupt flights

Stock MarketsJan 09, 2021 01:50PM ET
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2/2 © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump storm into the U.S. Capitol 2/2

By David Shepardson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The head of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on Saturday vowed to take "strong enforcement action" against unruly passengers following reports of supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump disrupting flights returning from Washington.

The FAA said it shared the concerns raised by airlines and Association of Flight Attendants.

"I expect all passengers to follow crew member instructions, which are in place for their safety and the safety of flight," FAA Administrator Steve Dickson said in a statement.

Trump supporters on Wednesday stormed the U.S. Capitol in an assault that was viewed with shock around the world.

Dickson said "unruly passenger behavior ... can distract, disrupt and threaten crewmembers’ ability to conduct their key safety functions." He added the "FAA will pursue strong enforcement action against anyone who endangers the safety of a flight, with penalties ranging from monetary fines to jail time."

Earlier this week, the flight attendants union said Trump supporters who stormed the Capitol should not be allowed to depart Washington on commercial flights after exhibiting "mob mentality behavior" on flights into the region.

Alaska Airlines said on Friday it banned 14 passengers from future travel with the carrier after "unacceptable" behavior on a flight from Washington to Seattle.

Seattle-based Alaska said a number of passengers on a flight out of Washington late on Thursday "were non-mask compliant, rowdy, argumentative and harassed our crew members."

This week, U.S airlines and law enforcement agencies bolstered security at Washington-area airports after reports of disruptive behavior by some Trump supporters on flights into the region, which had raised concern about their departure. American Airlines (NASDAQ:AAL) temporarily halted alcohol service on flights departing and arriving in Washington after Wednesday's events.

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham (NYSE:GHM) was harassed on Friday by supporters of Trump and called a "traitor" at Washington's Reagan National Airport before departing on a flight, according to videos posted on social media.

The FAA opened more than 1,300 enforcement actions against unruly passengers during the past decade, including recent cases for interfering with and assaulting flight attendants who instructed them to wear masks. 

There have been numerous videos posted of unruly behavior on Washington flights, including one American Airlines flight to Phoenix in which the pilot threatened to divert to "the middle of Kansas and dump people off.

FAA chief vows tough line after some Trump supporters disrupt flights
 

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Comments (5)
Tiwan Allen
Tiwan Allen Jan 10, 2021 1:35PM ET
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the only thing I see if you can't find a oil keep digging
Jack Zhang
Jack_A Jan 09, 2021 5:46PM ET
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many comments have the logic: I am doing wrong because others did. Sigh!!!
Ad Cline
Ad Cline Jan 09, 2021 4:46PM ET
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so many on this site supporting. tRump's seditious and treasonous behavior.
maro turk
maro turk Jan 09, 2021 4:46PM ET
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yup it is half-wits site. like their leader. hahaha
Kaveh Sun
Kaveh Sun Jan 09, 2021 3:36PM ET
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They deserve each others. Lots of TSA r Sobs. I dont feel sorry for tsa at all.
Brady Murray
Brady Murray Jan 09, 2021 2:20PM ET
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Typical Lefty Reuters. im sure they weren't Antifa or BLM.
Tony Huynh
Tony Huynh Jan 09, 2021 2:20PM ET
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yeah dude they are Antifa who tattoo far right logo, join the Qanon for years, go to every Trump rallies, decorate their homes with Trump flag, post pro-Trump ideas daily on Twitter, and protest an election they win. Sound legit
Ken Byron
Ken Byron Jan 09, 2021 2:20PM ET
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stop spreading bs conspiracies. You are what is wrong with this country.
 
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