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US to prioritize prosecution of unruly air passengers

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Attorney General Merrick B. Garland on Wednesday called on prosecutors to prioritize federal crimes prosecutions on commercial planes, as millions of travelers cross the United States for Thanksgiving, the nation’s busiest vacation.

As travel to the United States approaches pre-pandemic levels, the federal government has stepped up prosecutions for crimes on flights, particularly by passengers refusing to adhere to Covid protocols. In some cases, passengers assaulted or threatened flight attendants.

Federal law prohibits assaults, intimidation, and threats of violence that interfere with workers on flights, as well as other criminal acts that can occur during a theft.

Reports filed in the Aviation Safety Reporting System database by flight attendants sometimes describe a chaotic and unbalanced workplace where passengers routinely abuse airline employees.

Passengers who assault, intimidate or threaten violence against flight crews and flight attendants do more than harm those employees; they prevent the performance of essential tasks that help keep air travel safe, Garland said in a statement Wednesday.

In the past year, there have been 5,338 reports of unruly passengers, and 3,856 were mask-related incidents, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

Historically, the FAA has handled these cases with civil penalties, warnings, and advice. However, as part of the current zero tolerance policy for unruly passengers established in January, the FAA chose to impose civil penalties on one unruly passenger. A passenger can be fined up to $ 37,000 per offense and may be cited for more than one offense at the same time.

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2/ https://www.nytimes.com/2021/11/24/us/us-passengers-prosecution.html

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