The Federal Aviation Administration announced on Thursday it has referred 17 more unruly passenger cases to the FBI for criminal prosecution review bringing the total to 250 since 2021.
Acting FAA Administrator Billy Nolen said there is “zero tolerance for unruly behavior,” and “we will come after you with serious consequences.”
Recent incidents in 2023 included alleged assaults of female passengers, assaults of flight attendants, inappropriate touching, and one passenger who refused to remain seated, acted erratically and said they needed to fly the aircraft, according to an
FAA news statement.
In 2021, the FBI and FAA launched a partnership to streamline the criminal review of cases after unruly passenger reports skyrocketed. The FAA investigated 1,113 unruly passenger incidents in 2021 and sent 37 for review to the FBI.
In 2022, reported incidents dropped by almost half and the FAA investigated 831 incidents. By February 2022, Reuters reported, the FAA sent 80 cases to the FBI for review.
The FBI investigates sexual misconduct, assault, interference with passengers, and theft aboard aircraft. A Texas man pleaded guilty in Montana to groping a young girl, a woman was convicted of assaulting two people on a flight from Buffalo to Chicago, and a Washington man pleaded guilty to assaulting a flight attendant on a plane.
Last month, lawmakers reintroduced legislation that would establish a program banning passengers who are fined or convicted of unruly behavior.
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