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Airline workers say unruly passengers are lashing out more. A bill could help curb that

According to the Federal Aviation Administration, there have been more than 7,000 reports of unruly passengers from the start of 2021 through April 4, 2022.

WASHINGTON — Lawmakers in Washington say they are working to protect airline crew members from abusive passengers.

There's now a new bill in the House of Representatives filed Wednesday known as the “Protection from Abusive Passengers Act.” If passed, it would outright ban passengers who act out on flights from taking future commercial flights.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), there have been 7,062 reports of unruly passengers from the start of 2021 through April 4, 2022. 4,997 of those have been related to face masks.

RELATED: 21 states sue to end mask mandates on planes, other transit

Since the pandemic started, videos of bad behavior on flights have made the rounds on social media, showing the tense situations passengers and flight attendants are put in when someone acts out in the air.

The lawmakers who filed this bill hope to send a message with the filing of this bill that this kind of conduct won’t be tolerated.

"If you're going to terrorize a cabin full of innocent passengers or knock out a flight attendant's teeth, then understand this: you will forfeit your chance to fly,” said Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) at a news conference.

According to a 2021 survey of flight attendants by the Association of Flight Attendants union, more than 85% of attendants said they had dealt with unruly passengers as travel picked up in the first half of 2021, with 17% reporting a physical incident.

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“Crew members shouldn't have to be harassed, pushed, shoved, spit on, or disrespected just for doing our job,” said Allie Malis, an American Airlines flight attendant and Association of Professional Flight Attendants government affairs representative.

Individual airlines have been able to ban passengers for lashing out, but the proposed bill would take it a step further; if passed, it would essentially create a federal "no-fly" list for disruptive travelers.

"We don't want someone flying American to then be able to fly Delta, etc., so this would be a list managed by the TSA," Malis said, "so that it applies to all airlines so that you can't get around, you know, individual carriers' no-fly list policies."

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Lawmakers said this legislation wouldn’t affect the majority of passengers, but would hopefully serve as a deterrent to keep flights free of violence.

"Enough is enough,” said Rep. Eric Swalwell, (D-C.A.) at a news conference. "There will be consequences in the future."

The federal mask mandate on transportation like airplanes was extended until April 18th. There is no word if the mandate will expire or be extended yet again.

Contact Kendall Morris at kmorris2@wcnc.com and follow her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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