Tuesday, December 7, 2021
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The Justice Department plans to step up prosecution of unruly airline passengers after more than 5,300 incidents this year

  • The Federal Aviation Administration logged more than 5,300 flight disturbances this year.
  • The vast majority are categorized as “mask-related incidents.”
  • AG Merrick Garland instructed prosecutors in a memo to step up and coordinate enforcement during the holidays.

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Federal prosecutors should increase their efforts to hold passengers responsible for threats and violence that occur on flights during the holiday season, US Attorney General Merrick Garland said Wednesday.

In a two-page memo to US attorneys, Garland said the Department of Justice was “concerned about a rise in criminal behavior” on commercial flights.

As of November 23, the Federal Aviation Administration had logged 5,338 reports of unruly passengers this year, over 70% of which were listed as “mask-related incidents.” The FAA launched investigations into more than a thousand of the cases, compared to just 146 investigations in 2019.

But just 266 of those incidents have resulted in enforcement actions — the FAA itself…

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