Attorney General Merrick Garland has ordered the Department of Justice to take a harsher stance on unruly airline passengers over the holiday weekend, according to a report by The New York Post.
The publication reported that the attorney general order the crackdown in a Wednesday memo, saying that law enforcement officers should prioritize prosecuting of “rowdy fliers” millions of Americans take to the skies over the Thanksgiving holiday.
The directive issued by Garland’s office was part of his office’s stated attempt to keep travelers that are “disorderly” from interfering with the jobs of Arline crews who “help ensure safe air travel.”
“Passengers who assault, intimidate or threaten violence against flight crews and flight attendants do more than harm those employees; they prevent the performance of critical duties that help ensure safe air travel,” Garland said.
“Similarly, when passengers commit violent acts against other passengers in the close confines of a commercial aircraft, the conduct endangers everyone aboard,” he added.
Currently, the Department of Justice has a noted ban on “assaults, intimidation and threats of violence that interfere with flight crews and flight attendants.”
This after Airlines have suffered a rough year and airlines saw a massive surge in passengers causing a scene with more than 5,300 instances reported by companies engaged in the operation of passenger aircraft.
“On Monday, the Federal Aviation Administration revealed the agency received nearly 300 reports of passenger disturbances due to alcohol and intoxication,” the Post reported. “Well over 3,800 of the total reports stem from passengers refusing to wear face coverings as federally mandated on flights.”
That uptick in combative passengers prompted the Transpiration Security Administration to restart it’s self-defense courses for flight attendants where airline employees learn to cope with unruly travelers.
“This year, the FAA launched over 1,000 investigations stemming from complaints — the most since 1995 when the agency began keeping track,” the Post reported.
“The Department of Justice is committed to using its resources to do its part to prevent violence, intimidation, threats of violence and other criminal behavior that endangers the safety of passengers, flight crews and flight attendants on commercial aircraft,” Garland said Wednesday.
Experts speculate that around 48.3 million people were expected to travel at least 50 miles from home over the holiday, according to AAA.