Delta proposes a second national ‘no-fly’ list — for unruly passengers

Sep 24, 2021

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

As the number of incidents with unruly air travelers keeps climbing, Delta Air Lines is out with its proposed solution.

This week, the Atlanta-based carrier shared two internal memos with its workforce, which include details about a proposed national “no-fly” list of unruly passengers.

According to the notes, Delta is urging airlines to create a unified list of banned passengers to that they can collectively work to minimize the number of inflight disruptions. Once your name is added to the list, you’d theoretically be banned from boarding a flight, regardless of which airline you’re flying.

Want more airline-specific news? Sign up for TPG’s free new biweekly Aviation newsletter!

Right now, each airline keeps its own record of unruly passengers — if you’re banned from flying Delta, nothing is stopping you from booking a United flight. (According to the memo, Delta already has more than 1,600 people on its own “no-fly” list.)

Delta’s proposed “no-fly” list would essentially become the second national database of banned travelers, joining the existing one of known or suspected terrorists that are barred from boarding a flight and entering the U.S.

It wasn’t immediately clear how Delta’s proposal would work — how would airlines align on criteria, and who would be in charge of monitoring the database and keeping it updated? We reached out to the airline to learn more, but it didn’t have any additional information to share.

Delta’s latest move comes roughly four months after it tightened its own policies again unruly behavior.

In an update to its SkyMiles program terms and conditions, travelers who threaten, intimidate or otherwise cross a line with Delta employees could have their accounts closed. That includes the possible forfeiture of all accumulated mileage credit, any unused and upcoming award or upgrade certificates and all other associated membership benefits, including Medallion elite status. You could also be banned from flying with Delta in the future.

Unruly behavior in airports and on airplanes has dramatically increased since the outset of the pandemic.

Air rage crisis: Congress gets an earful on unruly flyer incidents aboard US flights

In January, the FAA announced a zero-tolerance policy for unruly behavior aboard flights to help quell the a round of disruptive behavior emerging that — at the time — was largely centered around the attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6. Since then, compliance with mask rules and other pandemic-era stresses have been cited in a large number of inflight incidents.

On Thursday, the Federal Aviation Administration said that rates of unruly passengers aboard commercial flights have dropped by 50% since early 2021, though they’re still more than double what they were at the end of 2020.

Last month, the FAA reached a major milestone in fines against unruly passengers — the agency has now fined passengers a total of over $1 million in 2021. Passengers who’ve received the highest penalties have been alleged by the FAA to have physically assaulted flight attendants and other passengers, snorted cocaine inflight and refused to follow the federal mask mandate.

Though unruly behavior continues to grab headlines, it’s important to note that it represents only a small fraction of the total number of travelers taking to the skies. Just six occurrences for every 10,000 flights as of last week, the FAA said.

Featured photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,600

CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 3X points on dining and 2x points on travel, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • Enjoy benefits such as a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on dining and 2x on all other travel purchases, plus more.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
Regular APR
16.24% - 23.24% Variable
Annual Fee
$95
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.