The Justice Department directed U.S. attorneys on Wednesday to prioritize the prosecution of airline passengers who have committed federal crimes aboard aircraft.
- The FAA and the DOJ established an information-sharing protocol in August to “ensure the department is notified about criminal conduct occurring on commercial aircraft,” per the release.
- Attorney General Merrick Garland reiterated that federal law prohibits assaults, intimidation and threats of violence, adding that such conduct “endangers everyone aboard.”
The bottom line: Passengers who harm “flight crews and flight attendants … prevent the performance of critical duties that help ensure safe air travel,” Garland said in a statement.
- “The Department of Justice is committed to using its resources to do its part to prevent violence, intimidation, threats of violence … that endangers the safety of passengers, flight crews and flight attendants,” he added.
What they’re saying: Sara Nelson, Association of Flight Attendants-CWA international president, said in an emailed statement that consequences need to be swift and clear to keep travel safe.
- “We want to take people to New Orleans, Seattle, Fort Lauderdale, or to see Grandma. We do not want to take them to jail,” she added.
- The “DOJ can now make it clear that’s where you’re going if you refuse to cooperate and act out violently on a plane.”
Editor’s note: This article has been updated with comment from Sara Nelson.