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Fights And Unruly Flyers Leave Many Questioning The Safety Of Air Travel
Over the last few months, air travel has become more and more popular for those seeking to explore again after a restricted year in quarantine. But, post-pandemic travel has seemingly heightened violent behavior and unruly passenger habits on multiple major airlines including Delta, American, and Southwest Airlines.
All of these bizarre incidents followed an uproar on an American Airlines plane when Trump supporters wouldn’t settle down en route to the capital insurrection that took place from passengers arriving from Texas into Washington, D.C.
What seemed to be, at first, a random occurrence has led to this consistent cycle of misbehavior on flights that have made purchasing airfare in the United States an anxious activity. Especially for those trying to return to their normal lives, where flying was seen as a fun component to their travel excursions.
In 2021, the FAA (US Federal Aviation Authority) has reported over 3,000 cases of misconduct (over 2,300 due to mask mandates) between January and now, which has exponentially risen over the past year considering the statistics of air-rage in the past decade. The flight organization is used to only receiving about 100 reports that they openly investigate every year, according to data from the past decade.
“We have seen an alarming increase in the rate over the last few months, and it’s something that we need to get under control,” FAA Administrator Steve Dickson told ABC News. “This is something that we should all be concerned about.”
Now that there is a spike in these incidents, the Airlines for America (A4A), a U.S. industry trade organization, sent a letter to FAA Administrator Dickson in June to alert him to stir up more public awareness.
“We respectfully request that the Department of Justice commit to the full and public prosecution of onboard acts of violence… We ask that the Department should direct federal prosecutors to dedicate resources for egregious cases, the letter stated.”
According to Forbes, airlines have more than enough authority to step in and take action. But, many have chosen not to.
“Of the thousands of incidents reported this year, only 60 have actually led to law enforcement cases, according to the FAA. That is nowhere near enough to stop the problem,” the website reported.
A U.S. federal mask mandate has been implemented for air travel until September, and this may be leading to the conflict on planes as well. Some states have entirely loosened or disallowed face masks in public, so having this requirement on U.S. flights may lead to further disillusionment between passengers who follow these guidelines and those who don’t want to. This paired with the post-pandemic jitters that some U.S. citizens feel in states where COVID-19 cases have exponentially decreased may contribute to this fear and anxiety of airfare misconduct.
The reopening of the country and the government mask mandates seem to be causing quarrels with flight attendants, passengers, and bystanders. These will be the oncoming obstacles that will be faced as people navigate a new world that includes more flight travel and being totally immersed in larger crowds of strangers that we all became foreign to over a year in quarantine.