Biden administration may strip unruly airline passengers of pre-check status

Incidents of violent, disorderly passengers have been soaring in 2021.

Updated: December 21, 2021 - 12:30pm

The Biden administration announced Tuesday that unruly passengers aboard airlines could face consequences beyond prosecution and fines, including the loss of pre-check privileges.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said they would work together to identify those who should be banned from the TSA Pre-Check program, which gives travelers easier and quicker ways to get through airport security lines.

"TSA has zero tolerance for the unruly behaviors, especially those involving physical assault occurring aboard aircraft. We have tremendous respect for airport staff, gate agents and flight crews that get people safely to their destinations," TSA Administrator David Pekoske said. "This partnership with FAA will help ensure the safety and security of all passengers and hold those who violate federal regulations accountable for their actions."

"If you act out of line, you will wait in line," FAA Administrator Steve Dickson added. "Our partnership aims to promote safe and responsible passenger behavior. One unruly incident is one too many' 

Under the partnership, FAA will provide TSA with information of passengers who receive proposed fines for bad behavior, and the TSA will share information to make it easier to serve offenders with penalty notices.

The announcement comes just weeks after Attorney General Merrick Garland ordered federal prosecutors to prioritize prosecution of federal crimes that occur on commercial flights, seeking to stem an historic outbreak of passenger misconduct.

The FAA announced this fall it had launched 950 investigations into passenger behavior on flights in 2021, the highest total since the agency started keeping track of such incidents in 1995, according to The Associated Press.