- how many passenger reports, mask-related incidents reported, investigations initiated, and enforced cases initiated in 2021
- How many investigations were done in 2020 compared to 2021
During this summer of frequent flight delays and cancellations due to the COVID pandemic, many travelers spent more time in airports than expected, often subjected to over stimulation which can cause passengers to lose their cool. Add anxiety over Covid-19 and disagreements regarding mandated masking and it’s no surprise that people have gotten snippy with flight attendants. The Federal Aviation Administration reported more than 4,000 cases of unruly passenger complaints this year through August, initiating more than 700 investigations to date, compared to 183 in 2020.The FAA’s database contains only those incidents reported to FAA. Reporting is at the discretion of the crewmember. Security violations are excluded. Those cases are handled by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). The repercussions for passengers who engage in unruly behavior can be substantial. They can be fined by the FAA or prosecuted on criminal charges.
The numbers in the table reflect all cases that FAA investigated that cited violations of one or more of the following regulations and/or federal laws: 14 CFR 91.11, 121.580, 135.120, 125.328, 49 U.S.C. 46318 & 46504. Historically, FAA has closed these cases with legal enforcement action (civil penalties), administrative action (warning notices), compliance action (counseling), or no action if there is insufficient evidence of a regulatory violation or violation of federal law. However, under our current zero-tolerance policy toward unruly passengers, we are not addressing cases with warning notices or counseling.