One of America's leading airlines is calling on its fellow carriers to collaborate on keeping "unruly passengers" out of the skies altogether.
Delta Airlines has publicly released two internal memos in which company officials call on other airlines to share their no-fly lists with the FAA — a move intended to "further protect airline employees across the industry."
"A list of banned customers doesn’t work as well if that customer can fly with another airline," the company said in both memos.
According to the company blog (where the memos were published), Delta has more than 1,600 people on its no-fly list.
The airline says it's submitted over 600 of the names on that list to the FAA as part of the agency's Special Emphasis Enforcement Program, an initiative aimed at addressing a recent uptick in passenger incidents.
As Delta notes, the memos were sent to employees the same day a congressional transportation committee held a hearing called "Disruption in the Skies: The Surge in Air Rage and its Effects on Workers, Airlines, and Airports.”
According to this report from Forbes, the hearing — which was held Thursday — included testimony from the president of a cabin crew workers' union, who told the committee that employees are "routinely" suffering “extensive verbal abuse, including from visibly drunk passengers, passengers yelling and swearing in response to masking directions, and often aggressively challenging flight crew working to ensure compliance with federal rules.”
The news site notes that while "air rage" is nothing new, it has spiked dramatically over the past year — with the first nine months of 2021 bringing more unruly behavior investigations than the previous five years combined.
However, this is "only a fraction" of the unruly passenger complaints filed by airlines since the start of the calendar year, Forbes says. Most of those complaints — 3,199 — were mask-related.
The hearing comes amid a lobbying effort by the FAA as well as airline workers' unions, all of whom are seeking tougher laws against belligerent passengers.
As NBC News notes, Delta's call to its fellow carriers comes after the the Association of Flight Attendants, which represents some 50,000 cabin crew members across the industry, proposed a "centralized database of banned airline passengers."
Delta Airlines, which has a major hub at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, is based in Atlanta.