Delta Air Lines will ban rude passengers who “refuse to display basic civility” by placing them on its ‘no fly list’ for life. Ed Bastian, Delta’s chief executive announced the drastic new policy in a memo to staffers on Friday after days of debate over what the Federal Aviation Administration has described as a “disturbing increase in incidents where airline passengers have disrupted flights with threatening and violent behavior”.
One such incident involved several Delta passengers who harassed Senator Mitt Romney while he waited for board a plane bound for Washington D.C. ahead of the key Congressional confirmation of Joe Biden as the next President of the United States.
On Thursday, Delta confirmed that all of the customers involved in the incident had been placed on the Atlanta-based airline’s ‘no fly list’ – a ban that now looks like will be permanent.
“Please know that respect and civility to others on our planes, at our airports, in our workplaces and in our society – even when we have differences of opinion – have always been a requirement for our people and our customers,” Bastian told staffers in the latest memo.
“Those who refuse to display basic civility to our people or their fellow travelers are not welcome on Delta. Their actions will not be tolerated, and they will not have the privilege of flying our airline ever again,” the memo continued.
“I am incredibly grateful for the professionalism and humanity our people display on a daily basis,” Bastian said while confirming that over 800 passengers had now been banned for refusing to wear a face mask.
Delta had previously said that anti-maskers would face being banned for at least as long as the airline mandated the wearing of face masks onboard its planes and in its airports. Those 800 customers could, though, now also face lifetime bans from flying Delta.
In a bid to clamp down on unruly behavior the FAA has also promised to move straight to enforcement action when dealing with disruptive passengers – which includes passengers who refuse to comply with airline mandated face mask requirements and disobeying lawful crew member instructions.
FAA Administrator Steve Dickson said, “stiff penalties” including fines of up to $35,000, as well as imprisonment was on the cards for passengers to continued to use their differences of opinion as reasons to disrupt, harass, intimidate or threaten other passengers or crew.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.