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FAA Risk Management – Letter From Director Shows Alcohol Masks Risk


FAA Risk Management – Alcohol and Masks Risk With No Prosecution

The FAA risk management letter  I came across yesterday shows a large concern for alcohol served in airports when added to the mask requirement.

I came across this letter from Steve Dickson, Administrator for the FAA.  You can find a PDF of the letter to all the Airport managers in this PDF.

pic Beechcraft plane faa risk management
Wikimedia License – D. Miller IL. USA

Three Points From FAA Risk Management Letter and Website

I found three major points in the letter from Steve Dickinson and on the FAA website.

They are:

  1.  The FAA has very little enforcement authority – From the letter – While FAA has levied civil fines against unruly passengers, it has no authority to prosecute criminal cases. Every week, we see situations in which law enforcement was asked to meet an aircraft at the gate following an unruly passenger incident. In some cases, flight attendants have reported being physically assaulted. Nevertheless, many of these passengers were interviewed by local police and released without criminal charges of any kind. When this occurs, we miss a key opportunity to hold unruly passengers accountable for their unacceptable and dangerous behavior.
  2. Airport to go alcohol is a problem – The passengers take their drinks to go and board the airplane.  Airlines do not serve alcohol on domestic flights.  I ran into this situation myself on a recent flight.  A large section of the airplane was inebriated and brought their alcohol on board with them.  They were partying hard on the flight.  They did wear their masks, though.  Alcohol is much more potent at 35,000 feet.
  3.  On the FAA website – In 2021, domestic airlines have reported 5,033 unruly passengers to the FAA  Nearly three-quarters of those cases — 3,642 or 72.36 percent — involved mask-related incidents.  

What does this mean for airlines and FAA?

Airlines can refuse boarding to anyone that is too drunk to fly.  I saw this happen twice in all my years of flying.  Both were on a low-cost airline that will remain nameless.

As more people return to flying over the holidays, the airlines and FAA risk management will likely be stretched to the limit with protecting airline employees.

I do not see a quick-fix solution to the problem.  Comment below if you have any suggestions.


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James J Moore - Workers Comp Expert

Raleigh, NC, United States

About The Author...

James founded a Workers’ Compensation consulting firm, J&L Risk Management Consultants, Inc. in 1996. J&L’s mission is to reduce our clients’ Workers Compensation premiums by using time-tested techniques. J&L’s claims, premium, reserve and Experience Mod reviews have saved employers over $9.8 million in earned premiums over the last three years. J&L has saved numerous companies from bankruptcy proceedings as a result of insurance overpayments.

James has over 27 years of experience in insurance claims, audit, and underwriting, specializing in Workers’ Compensation. He has supervised, and managed the administration of Workers’ Compensation claims, and underwriting in over 45 states. His professional experience includes being the Director of Risk Management for the North Carolina School Boards Association. He created a very successful Workers’ Compensation Injury Rehabilitation Unit for school personnel.

James’s educational background, which centered on computer technology, culminated in earning a Masters of Business Administration (MBA); an Associate in Claims designation (AIC); and an Associate in Risk Management designation (ARM). He is a Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC) and a licensed financial advisor. The NC Department of Insurance has certified him as an insurance instructor. He also possesses a Bachelors’ Degree in Actuarial Science.

LexisNexis has twice recognized his blog as one of the Top 25 Blogs on Workers’ Compensation. J&L has been listed in AM Best’s Preferred Providers Directory for Insurance Experts – Workers Compensation for over eight years. He recently won the prestigious Baucom Shine Lifetime Achievement Award for his volunteer contributions to the area of risk management and safety. James was recently named as an instructor for the prestigious Insurance Academy.

James is on the Board of Directors and Treasurer of the North Carolina Mid-State Safety Council. He has published two manuals on Workers’ Compensation and three different claims processing manuals. He has also written and has been quoted in numerous articles on reducing Workers’ Compensation costs for public and private employers. James publishes a weekly newsletter with 7,000 readers.

He currently possess press credentials and am invited to various national Workers Compensation conferences as a reporter.

James’s articles or interviews on Workers’ Compensation have appeared in the following publications or websites:

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