Attorney General Merrick B. Garland ordered prosecutors Wednesday to prioritize federal crime prosecutions over commercial aircraft, such as millions of travelers cross the United States for Thanksgiving, the busiest vacation in campaign. As travel to the United States approaches pre-pandemic levels, the federal government has stepped up prosecutions for crimes involving thefts, particularly by passengers refusing to comply with 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 may occur during theft.
Reports filed in Aviation safety reporting system la Flight attendant database sometimes describes a chaotic and lopsided workplace where passengers regularly 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 ensure the safety of air travel ", Mr. Garland said in a statement Wednesday .
In the past year, there were 5,338 reports of unruly passengers, and 3,856 were mask-related incidents, according to Federal Aviation Administration .
Historically, the FAA handled these cases with civil penalties, warnings and advice. However, under the current zero tolerance policy for unruly passengers established in January, the F.A.A. chose to impose civil penalties on an unruly passenger. A passenger can be fined up to $ 37,000 per offense and may be cited for multiple offenses at once.