It’s hard to remember now, but flying before the pandemic was a pain in the ass, but a gentle one — exciting even. Everyone has their airport rituals, or did in the Before Times. Flying during the pandemic is a different pain in the ass entirely, and Delta is sick of it.
There are the masks, of course, though we are all used to that by now. Worse, for certain personality types (me) is the ever-present feeling that at any given moment someone could decide that they’ve had too much. You’ve seen the videos; we all have. It’s not that I’m not afraid of these people, though it’s horrible that flight attendants have to deal with it. I even sympathize to a degree, because we’ve been all through the ringer the past couple years, and everyone has a breaking point.
It is mostly just: Sir, this is a McDonald’s, and, if you can’t keep it together for a flight, it’s a fair question whether you should be flying, period. Delta thinks so at least, according to a letter sent to Attorney General Merrick Garland reported by Reuters Friday.
Delta Air Lines wants the U.S. government to place passengers convicted of on-board disruptions on a national “no-fly” list that would bar them from future travel on any commercial airline, according to a letter seen by Reuters.
Delta Chief Executive Ed Bastian, in a previously unreported letter to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland, said the action “will help prevent future incidents and serve as a strong symbol of the consequences of not complying with crew member instructions on commercial aircraft.”
Bastian said Delta has placed nearly 1,900 people on Delta’s “no-fly” list for refusing to comply with masking requirements and submitted more than 900 banned names to the Transportation Security Administration to pursue civil penalties.
Delta previously called on other airlines to share their unruly passenger “no fly” list to ensure individuals “who have endangered the safety and security of our people do not go on to do so on another carrier,” Bastian wrote.
Civil liberties types that NPR spoke with said that any kind of banned list is “generally ... a bad idea,” which is the kind of thing a civil liberties type would say. But flying, much like driving, is a privilege and not a right, and we ban people from driving all the time for various misbehaviors. Anyway, please do not be a Disruptive Asshole on my next flight. I want it to be over just as much as you do.