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.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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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