Republican lawmakers push back on creation of federal no-fly list for unruly passengers

WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — An effort to create a federal no-fly list is being pushed back by some lawmakers. While advocates argue it could stop travelers from behaving in violent and hateful ways, others say the effort goes too far.

Examples of Unruly Airline Passenger Behavior has become increasingly common. The Federal Aviation Association released new figures this week revealing nearly 6,000 unruly passenger reports. The majority were mask-related incidents.

Airline Captain Dennis Tajer of the Allied Pilots Association says it’s a dangerous trend.

“Anything that distracts my attention from the aircraft, in any phase of flight, immediately puts everyone at risk,” Tajer said.

Now some airlines and some unions are asking the The Department of Justice will create a federal no-fly list.

Republican senators, like John Cornyn of Texas, are pushing back.

“The no-fly list is really designed to keep terrorists off planes, not unruly Americans,” Cornyn said.

A group of others Republican senators sent a letter to the attorney general this weeksaying that it is wrong to equate people who resist mask mandates with terrorists.

Those opposing the effort also point out that airlines already have the power to ban customers on their own.

“At American Airlines, if someone is on a no-fly list, they will just go and book at United or Delta and vice versa,” Tajer said.

Republican Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri insists the government should not get involved.

“This administration has a history of anyone whose speech they don’t like, anyone who disagrees – they call a terrorist, they call an insurgent, they try to use government force against them,” he said. Hawley said.

Captain Tajer says he’s not sure if a federal list is the answer, but tackling bad behavior is key to safer skies.

“As the saying goes, ‘Houston, we have a problem.’ And that problem is that some people on the plane make it a problem for all of us, and that can’t happen on the plane,” Tajer said.