Unruly passengers could lose TSA PreCheck eligibility under new rule
Passengers who have been fined for assaulting, threatening, intimidating or interfering with a crew member could be removed from TSA PreCheck screening eligibility, the Transportation Security Administration and Federal Aviation Administration said Tuesday.
"If you act out of line, you will wait in line," FAA Administrator Steve Dickson said of the new rule. "Our partnership aims to promote safe and responsible passenger behavior. One unruly incident is one too many."
So far, 315 people are facing civil enforcement action for unruly behavior, according to the FAA. This year alone, more than 5,500 unruly passenger incidents — including more than 4,000 mask-related incidents — have been reported.
Under TSA PreCheck, travelers are not required to remove their shoes, laptops, belts or light jackets when going through security screening, usually allowing for a shorter screening process. In order to have PreCheck, travelers must submit an application and go through a clearance process with the TSA.
The two agencies said Tuesday they will share information with one another, helping them better "identify and locate unruly passengers" and enforce the new rule.
"This partnership with FAA will ensure the safety and security of all passengers and hold those who violate federal regulations accountable for their actions," TSA Administrator David Pekoske said in Tuesday's announcement.
The regulation comes amid what the president of the Association of Flight Attendants said is an "unprecedented increase in assaults from violent passengers."
Last week, Sara Nelson told the Senate Committee of Commerce, Science and Transportation that members have reported "being repeatedly punched in the face, kicked, slammed against doors and counters and have even been spit on by passengers."
"The general level of disrespect, anger, and impatience our team has had to manage in recent months is simply inexcusable," Nelson said.
The FAA and FBI announced last month that 37 incidents of unruly behavior on aircraft have been referred for criminal review, and more could be coming. Any criminal charges would be separate from the civil fines requested by the FAA and criminal charges brought by local authorities.
-Allison Elyse Gualtieri and Errol Barnett contributed reporting.
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