Congress to consider new no-fly list for unruly passengers


U.S. Senate and House members proposed a new no-fly list for unruly passengers on Wednesday, an idea that was pushed by airline unions but failed to gain traction last year.

The legislation would let the Transportation Security Administration ban people convicted or fined for assaulting or interfering with airline crew members.

It would be separate from the current FBI-run no-fly list, which is intended to prevent people suspected of terrorism ties from boarding planes.

The number of incidents involving unruly passengers dropped sharply last year after a judge struck down a federal requirement to wear masks on planes. However, incidents serious enough to be investigated by federal officials remained more than five times higher than before the pandemic.

Civil libertarians vowed to oppose the measure. They say the FBI no-fly list is not transparent and unfairly targets people of color, and that the new list would have the same problems. They also say that the Federal Aviation Administration is cracking down on bad behavior and that reports of unruly passengers are declining.

Similar legislation failed to get a hearing in Congress last year. Supporters hope their chances have improved because of high-profile incidents like that involving a passenger who stabbed at a flight attendant with a broken spoon this month.

Individual airlines maintain lists of passengers they have banned but resist sharing names with other airlines, partly out of fear they could violate laws against cooperation among competing carriers.