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Delta CEO wants convicted unruly passengers put on national no-fly list

Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian said in the letter that passenger incidents on its flights went up 100% since 2019.

ATLANTA — The Federal Aviation Administration warned people of the consequences of being an unruly flier in November, and a new letter from the CEO of Delta Air Lines reveals the company is asking stricter penalties to make sure convicted, disruptive passengers never fly again.

Video from a Delta flight to Atlanta on December 23, 2021 ended up going viral for all the wrong reasons.

Delta CEO Ed Bastian sent the letter to the U.S. Department of Justice on Thursday. In it, Bastian asked U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland to create a federal law banning those who've been convicted of an on-air disruption from all commercial airlines in hopes of preventing what happened on that infamous flight. 

A woman, later identified as Patricia Cornwall, became upset with a man for not wearing a mask. The man said in the viral video he was drinking water. The FBI charged Cornwall with assault after she appears to slap him on video.

“It's just like blowing your horn at somebody who is not moving when the light turns green at the traffic station or they're not going fast enough. You're flashing the lights. In the world out there and in society, people will do things like that. You cannot do that in the airplane. You just can't. It's dangerous," Alan Armstrong said.

Alan Armstrong is a pilot and lawyer who's worked on airline administration cases.

The FAA reports 323 unruly passengers in January alone, and 205 of those cases involved wearing a mask. 

“This is not about your civil rights. It’s not about your individual liberties. All that’s gone when you get aboard the airplane," Armstrong said. 

Armstrong believes a nationwide no-fly list from all commercial airliners would be unprecedented. 

“I believe a no-fly list has been restricted to a particular airline. That's not nationwide," Armstrong said. 

11Alive News went to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and asked people their opinion.

“I do not think it’s a good idea to ban someone from flying for life unless they have really caused physical harm to someone else," Rayna Henderson said.

“I definitely agree. I think they should be prosecuted to the fullest. If that means never flying again. Take a Greyhound bus," Anne Howard said.

“I don’t think it should be a ban for life, more so a period of time, a year, two years, something like that," Vincent Hoo said. 

Armstrong said he thinks it's very likely the Justice Department will act on Delta's letter.

“In today’s environment, I think it’s likely," Armstrong said. "I think this is going to make it more confrontational. If you get on an airplane, you realize if you misbehave, you're going to go to prison. That's good. That's going be just a bit more tense.”

In the Delta letter 11Alive News obtained, the company reports passenger incidents on its flights went up 100% since 2019. 

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