Unruly passenger behavior distracts pilots, risks flight safety: FAA

The US civil aviation watchdog wants passengers to know that thousands of violent outbursts on commercial flights are not only a problem for flight attendants, but they distract pilots from keeping the entire flight safe.

On Tuesday in a public service announcement the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said, “You don’t want your pilots distracted. Unruly behavior doesn’t fly.”

The FAA says the dramatic video features actual recordings of flight crews informing air traffic controllers of emergency situations in the passenger cabin, interspersed with audio of in-flight scuffles that continue to surface on social media.

“We’ve got a disruptive customer in the back,” says the voice of one unidentified flight crew in the video. “Declared an emergency, we’d like to divert.”

This year alone 3,988 incidents of unruly passengers were encountered, an increase of 99 reports in the last week. More than 73% of the reports are over the federal transportation mask mandate, which was just extended to remain in place through January 18, 2022.

Last week the FAA announced a zero-tolerance policy against unruly passengers and so far has proposed more than $1.2 million in fines.