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Redefining The No Fly Zone

A professional traveler, such as myself, experiences the full travel spectrum; from Uber out to Uber back. Over the years and over a million miles of travel, I have learned how to travel smartly; minimizing the unpleasant while maximizing the very pleasant.  Recreational or occasional travelers are quick to complain about the experience; the ticketing lines, baggage drop lines, security lines, no seats at gate, on-board cattle-car ambiance, no food, bad snacks, First Class lavatories off-limits, paying for drinks. Paying for bags, paying for upgraded seats they feel weren’t worth it, ad nauseam.  

I notice these travelers are quick to complain about rude, airline employee behavior or that their trip is just not going as they want. They demand better treatment – and of course, a voucher or other “accommodation” to offset their violated personal expectations or inconvenience. Sometimes, the airline is at fault, and in virtually all cases, they step up and fix it.

OK, their customers demand better, and the airline responds. That’s just “Good Business 101.” What is lost in today’s very-non-personal-communicative world is this: this works both ways. The airline (should) demand better behavior from the customers, and they respond. However, this simple, innovative concept, incredibly, will cause tremendous pushback from those unwilling to adjust or amend their actions. It’s not their fault, they might argue. They feel they are paying for a service and the provider and other passengers need to adjust to them.”

If you travel regularly, you see it almost every trip; from poorly dressed (I watched one guy boarding wearing what looked like pajamas – seriously), to scantily clad women, to passengers wearing obscene messages on shirts.  Memorable, inspirational words such as, “I have the T*Ts, so I make the rules;” Meet the F*ckers (a sweatshirt with pictures of Bush Administration Cabinet), and a too-young girl wearing a Dick’s Sporting Goods shirt with “Girls Like Dicks, too” (can’t be real, right?).  In some cases, the airlines stepped up and threw them off the aircraft. And the media went wild, of course. Incredible.

But this is stupid, obnoxious behavior from someone suffering from “head up and locked” syndrome and nothing compared to the “Unruly Passenger(s)” who demonstrate zero sense of civility and/or simply don’t care. From performing Yoga in the aisle to a man assaulting and choking a woman passenger over her reclining seat to a woman who had to be dragged from the aircraft after attacking Delta flight crew members and later, airport police and FBI reps. 

Those are the inconsiderate, terminally-stupid idiots whose behavior cause aircraft to return to the departure airport forcing all the other passengers to miss connections, lose business, vacation days, threaten the safety of passengers, etc. And, the operational disruption and extra fuel and man-hour costs are incalculable. Why does this happen? Because these sociopathic morons do this/have done this with virtually no accountability or worse, responsibility. It’s all about them.

Eleven million travelers take to the global skies every day. They should expect safe passage free of frightening behavior from a few miscreants. It’s time for an attitude adjustment; time to confront badly behaving or dangerous passengers — head on, and make them pay.

What to do? First, the airlines and particularly the federal transportation agencies, need to grow a pair of ovaries and issue a simple, policy statement. Here’s my recommendation: “You cause a problem (drunk and disorderly, fighting, throwing food, etc.) forcing the delay or return of an aircraft to the gate or airport, and you go on the “No-Fly List” for all US and International airlines for five years. No plea arrangement, no community service. Five-year ban. Period. 

Non-responsibility excuses such as “I didn’t know if I took my meds with six Jack Daniels Doubles, it would make me behave like that,” won’t work. No hard-luck “if I can’t fly I’ll lose my job” wailing or “I have nephew’s graduation” hand-wringing will help. 

Too friggin’ bad. You’re driving to the graduation now — with plenty of time to reflect on what – or who – put you on the road instead of in the air.

If, after five years, your air travel privileges are returned and you do it again, depending on the offense, you might face jail time, but you will have earned a permanent ban on all air travel for life.  

Period. Have a nice day.

If the first infraction is severe enough, you could move immediately to being banned from all air travel for life and skip the five-year wait. The possibility of jail time, however, would still be there.

To Delta’s credit, they have instituted a “banned from Delta” policy if the unruly passenger’s behavior warrants it but there are other air carriers that will still take their money.

The statistics on unruly passengers are striking. In 2017, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) reported an unbelievable ratio of 1 serious incident for every 1,053 flights. The top three issues were not obeying safety regulations (other than non-smoking): 49 %, alcohol-related; 27%, and incredibly, 24% of incidents were for not following the non-smoking rules in the aircraft. Is “No smoking In the aircraft” that complicated to understand?

The internet is filled with drunk/disorderly conduct types punching flight attendants, and even beating other passengers with a wine bottle before attempting to open the door of a Delta aircraft cruising over the Pacific Ocean at 30,000 feet. That earned the violent assailant two years in prison and a ban on flying — but no word on how long of a ban

To Delta’s credit, they have instituted a “banned from Delta” policy if the unruly passenger’s behavior warrants it but there are other air carriers that will take their money.

The stats on unruly passenger is stunning. In 2017, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) reported a staggering ratio of 1 serious incident for each 1,053 flights. The top three issues were 49% not obeying safety regulations (other than non-smoking), 27% involved alcohol, and incredibly, 24% of incidents were for not obeying the non-smoking regulations in the aircraft. Is “No smoking In the aircraft” that  complicated to understand?

Cause a ruckus, no flying on us.

Am I committing logic? Seems a no-brainer. 

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