This blog has twice addressed what the media and airlines continue to call “unruly” passengers who refuse to follow flight crew instructions: Time for Strong Action Against Unruly Air Travelers https://bit.ly/3uyZn6w and An Anti-Masker Walked into a Bar … https://bit.ly/3Jj9xMP
I have noted that the term “unruly” fails to describe the violent conduct of these, mostly, anti-maskers accurately and fully. The current of today’s post describes their behavior as terrorism. That, I submit, is closer to the truth. Bear in mind that these people are almost certainly among those who are fond of telling Black people to “just comply” with police instructions and, in effect, blaming them when they are killed. These events usually occur at traffic stops but there are many other examples. Yet, when these people board aircraft, knowing what the mask rules are, they chose not only to refuse compliance, but they physically assault flight attendants and other passengers.
I have advocated that the situation presents immediate grave dangers that should be addressed with aggressive, immediate and automatic enforcement of the law and common sense.
It is now widely reported that Delta Air Lines has written the Department of Justice to request government creation of a no-fly list for these terrorists. It’s about time.
The main reasons I believe that airlines have been hesitant to simply exchange the names and agree to ban these nuts from flying is the antitrust laws. Someone would no doubt accuse the airlines of conspiring to limit competition. While I don’t believe such a claim has merit, it would be expensive to defend and pointless in the end. The better solution is the one Delta has finally requested. It remains remarkable only that the entire industry has not joined immediately in this request.
I haven’t found the letter yet but continue to believe that a government-approved no-fly list is an excellent idea, although the same outcome could be achieved by DOJ issuing a Business Review Letter, a common technique permitting firms to propose courses of conduct that might raise issues and to ask DOJ to clear them in advance. This is not a subject on which competition is materially involved or that could possibly be jeopardized. It’s a problem of safety about which there should be no “competition.”
As for the administrative difficulties of managing such a list, remember that airlines have always been able to manage connecting flights involving not only their own flights, but also their flights in conjunction with other carriers’ operations. A no-fly list would be a piece of cake compared to that.
So, come on, DOJ, let’s not turn this into another endless investigation. Take the action Delta requests. As for the terrorists, it’s simple: just comply.