Flight Attendants Cheer Introduction of Protection from Abusive Passengers Act

Violent offenders convicted of assaulting flight crew could be placed on a commercial no-fly list

Washington, DC (April 6, 2022) — Disruptive passengers remain a threat to Flight Attendants, Passenger Service Agents and passengers onboard. Today, U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) and U.S. Representatives Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) and Eric Swalwell (D-CA) introduced the bicameral Protection from Abusive Passengers Act to improve aviation safety, reduce violent inflight incidents, and hold passengers accountable.

"It’s about time we take real action to keep Flight Attendants and passengers safe in the air. Senator Reed and Representative Swalwell are heroes for introducing the legislation to protect Flight Attendants and Passenger Service Agents,” said Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA representing nearly 50,000 Flight Attendants at 17 airlines. “Since late 2020, the number of incidents of disruptive passengers have exploded. The Federal Aviation Administration, Transportation Security Administration, and Department of Justice have worked to combat this rise. But more needs to be done. Right now, a passenger can be fined or convicted, and may be banned on an individual airline – but that does not prevent this violent offender from flying another airline. This bill would change that. It’s really just a handful of bad actors who need to be grounded and face consequences for their violent actions.”

“Unfortunately, too many of our pilots, flight attendants and crew members are dealing with unacceptable abuse from passengers -- everything from kicking to spitting to biting,” said Rep. Swalwell. “This behavior is not only inappropriate, but it also puts other crew and passengers at risk. I’m proud to join Senator Reed in introducing this bill to help protect everyone aboard aircraft and to help ensure flights are safe.”

Under the new Protection from Abusive Passengers Act, violent offenders convicted of assaulting flight crew—including flight attendants, pilots, and crewmembers—aboard an aircraft could be placed on a commercial no-fly list that would be managed by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). Transparency and advanced notice will be provided to banned individuals, including guidelines for removal from the ban and opportunities for appeal. The bill would also permanently ban abusive passengers from participating in the TSA PreCheck or Customs’ Global Entry programs.

"Violence and disruptions put everyone at risk and disrupts the safety of flight," Nelson said. "That is never acceptable. We've been punched, kicked, spit on, and sexually assaulted. We urge members of Congress to co-sign this bill and pass this legislation without delay. Hold violent passengers accountable, protect aviation workers and improve aviation safety.”

Last year, an AFA survey of 5,000 flight attendants found that over 85 percent of all respondents had dealt with unruly passengers as air travel picked up in the first half of 2021. More than half (58%) had experienced at least five incidents this year. A shocking 17 percent reported experiencing a physical incident.


The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, (AFA) AFL-CIO represents nearly 50,000 Flight Attendants at 17 airlines. AFA is the union that has advanced the Flight Attendant profession for 75 years, beating back discrimination and improving wages, benefits, working conditions, and aviation safety, health and security in the aircraft cabin. AFA also partners with the 700,000-member strong Communications Workers of America (CWA), AFL-CIO. Visit us at www.afacwa.org

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