Members of the Senate and House of Representatives on Wednesday proposed a new list of restless travelers, an idea proposed last year by airline unions that failed to win traction.
The law would allow the Transportation Security Administration to arrest people convicted or convicted of assaulting fellow airline members or obstructing their work from flying.
It would be separate from the current no-fly list operated by the FBI, which targets people suspected of having terrorist ties.
The number of incidents involving unruly passengers fell sharply last year after a judge struck down a federal requirement to carry passengers on planes. However, the number of incidents serious enough to be investigated by federal authorities is still more than five times higher than it was before the pandemic.
“The violent attacks didn’t stop,” Cher Taylor, a Frontier Airlines flight attendant who witnessed the attack on another passenger in Miami and then left before police arrived, said in an interview released outside the Capitol. “Strong sanctions are necessary to contain violent and unacceptable behavior. Negative behavior should not be avoided.”
Civil rights advocates vowed against the measure. They claim that the FBI’s white fly list is not transparent and unfairly targets minorities, and that the new list has the same problems. They also claim that Federal Aviation cracks down on negative behavior and reports of disorderly travelers.
“If Congress wants to bring more anger back into things on planes, it should consider forcing airlines to make flying a less miserable experience,” said Jay Stanley, a spokesman for the American Civil Liberties Union.
The new measure was introduced by Democratic Senator Jack Reed, Democratic Representative Eric Swalwell, and Republican Representative Brian Fitzpatrick.
A similar bill failed a congressional hearing last year. Supporters hope their chances are better because of high-profile incidents such as the passenger who stabbed a flight attendant this month with a broken spoon.
Each airline has a limit of passengers prohibited from flying, but they do not want to share their names with other airlines, in part to avoid breaking laws against cooperation between competing airlines.