US airlines ban more passengers in wake of Capitol riot
Since airlines stepped up enforcement of their mandatory mask requirements in June, more than 2,000 people have been added to U.S. airlines' internal no-fly lists.
United Airlines told ABC News that 60 people were banned in the last week alone, which is above the average for the previous week.
Much of the cases last week appear to be politically motivated as people fly to and from Washington DC after the Capitol Hill riot.
PHOTO: Rioters enter the U.S. Capitol after violating security in Washington, DC on Jan. 6, 2021 (Saul Loeb / AFP via Getty Images).
Alaska Airlines banned 14 passengers on a single flight from DC to Seattle one day after the uprising because the airline said it would not wear masks and harass crew members.
Two days after the Capitol Hill uprising, passenger videos on an American flight en route from DC to Phoenix showed the pilot threatened to divert to Kansas if the passengers did not "behave".
MORE: American Airlines bans activists kicked off the plane for refusing to wear a mask
Passengers sang "USA" and "Fight For Trump" according to videos of the incident.
The chanter finally heeded the captain's warnings and the flight continued without interruption.
American said in a statement to ABC News that the pilot "emphasized the importance of following instructions from crew members and following mandatory face-covering guidelines."
These politically motivated mask disputes continued all weekend.
PHOTO: Passengers walk through a crowded terminal at Dulles International Airport in Dulles, Va., Dec. 27, 2020. (Andrew Caballero-Reynolds / AFP via Getty Images)
On Sunday, a woman was filmed flying from Charlotte, North Carolina to DC refusing to wear a mask and screaming in the hallway. The passenger who recorded the video said the woman screamed about "tyranny".
MORE: Airlines Reviewing Mask Policy When Parents With Young Children Are Runaway From Flights
"If we don't get up, it will only get worse," she says in the clip.
Federal air marshals had to intervene to de-escalate the situation. American confirmed the woman is now banned from the airline pending further investigation.
"To say that I am concerned about the safety of our flight attendants is an understatement," said Julie Hedrick, national president of the Association of Professional Flight Attendants, in a statement last week. "We have seen several incidents on different flights to Washington DC. During these incidents, some of which were broadcast on social media, flight attendants were forced to confront passengers who showed politically motivated aggression towards other passengers and crew members."
MORE: The risk of COVID-19 exposure on airplanes, virtually non-existent when masked, shows a study
She said that "racist epithets were thrown at a black flight attendant while he was taking the hotel shuttle to DCA airport" and other flight attendants were hit by "a group of passengers [who] took off their masks after takeoff and harassed them" were.
These cases prompted Federal Aviation Administration chief Steve Dickson to issue a stern warning to unruly passengers on Saturday. He said in a statement that the FAA "will pursue strict enforcement measures against anyone who threatens the safety of a flight," with penalties ranging from fines of up to $ 35,000 to imprisonment.
PHOTO: Steve Dickson, chief executive of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) testifies before a Senate committee reviewing jetliner safety certification on June 17, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Graeme Jennings Pool / Getty Images)
Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., And Rep. Rick Larsen, D-Wash., Of the House's Transport and Infrastructure Committee, wrote to Dickson Monday, "We ask that you vigorously enforce these authorities and impose civil penalties . " less than the maximum legal limit - $ 35,000 per violation - to discourage unruly passengers from acting this way. "
Lawmakers have pressured the Department of Homeland Security to put rioters inside the Capitol on the federal no-fly list.
"Anyone who was part of the violent mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol on January 6th should be put on a TSA no-fly list," Senator Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., told a news conference Tuesday. “We cannot allow the same insurgents to get on a plane and cause more violence and more damage. These people represent a threat to the home country within the meaning of the law. "
Last week, the Chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, Rep. Bennie G. Thompson, D-Miss., Urged the Road Safety Administration and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to "use their authorities to help out the violent perpetrators involved in the domestic terrorist attack are to be added. " Put the US Capitol on the no-fly list and keep it away from airplanes. "
"TSA is always on high alert," the agency replied on ABC News. "We are preparing for any eventuality. For security reasons, we are only discussing the details to confirm that there are always multiple layers of security in place and that travelers may notice additional law enforcement and dog presence, especially when events warrant increased security We will consider FBI inquiries and congressional approvals related to no-fly lists. "
ABC News' Aaron Katersky contributed to this report.
US airlines ban more passengers after the Capitol Uprising, originally posted on abcnews.go.com
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