Lawmakers Say Airline Crews Need Training to Confront Spike in Violent Passengers

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U.S. lawmakers are pushing major airlines to back mandatory training for flight crew members to address an ongoing spike in disruptive and violent onboard incidents, with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) receiving a record 5,779 unruly passenger reports in 2021 alone, reports Reuters. Thus far, the FAA has referred 37 unruly passengers to the FBI for potential criminal prosecution and initiated 1,054 investigations and 325 enforcement actions for altercations that include 4,156 incidents related to COVID-19 mask requirements.

The FAA has also issued more than $1.4 million in fines for unruly passengers and many who refused to wear masks have been hit with $9,000 or higher fines. House of Representatives Homeland Security chair Bennie Thompson and Transportation and Infrastructure chair Peter DeFazio and two key subcommittee chairs sent letters to the CEOs of American Airlines, Delta Air, United Airlines and Southwest Airlines urging them to require crew members to attend the Transportation Security Administration’s Crew Member Self Defense Training Program.

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