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Lawmakers hold hearing about unruly airline passengers

The FAA said airlines reported more than 4,300 incidents – many involving intoxicated passengers or people defying mask mandates.
FAA-Unruly Passengers
Posted at 7:51 PM, Sep 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-23 21:51:09-04

There's been an uptick in unruly passenger incidents on commercial flights.

The Federal Aviation Administration said airlines reported more than 4,300 incidents – many involving intoxicated passengers or people defying mask mandates. 

Flight attendants got to tell lawmakers about the rise in harassment and violence on planes during a house committee hearing. 

They've dealt with racial slurs, spitting and assault. And the flight attendants' union says this poses a safety hazard for everyone.

"Flight attendants are the eyes throughout the aircraft for threats to safety of flight - depressurization, fires, medical emergencies including potential medical emergencies in the flight deck," said Sara Nelson, President of The Association of Flight Attendants. "We cannot afford to lose any time when responding to emergency or preparing for an emergency landing. Disturbances in the cabin are also a distraction from the flight deck and could compromise the safety of flight."

The FAA opened less than 200 unruly passenger investigations in 2020 as well as 2019. So far this year, it's opened 789. 

This story was first reported on Newsy.com.