Videos of passengers being removed from planes do not indicate federal no-fly status yet, TSA says

CNN's Jake Tapper reports.

Posted: Jan 12, 2021 5:30 AM
Updated: Jan 12, 2021 5:30 AM

Videos of belligerent passengers at airports — some donning pro-Trump outfits — being forced off planes or denied boarding are circulating widely on social media, with many users describing the scenes as airport officials informing people that participated in the Capitol riot that they're on a no-fly list. But that's not necessarily the case.

Though at least one member of Congress and airline worker unions have called for known riot participants to be put on the FBI-managed no-fly list, which is designed to prevent known and suspected terrorists from getting airline tickets, it's not clear if that step has been taken.

The FBI did not respond to a request for comment.

Federal officials and DC police are still working to identify and track down many of the rioters, though at least 20 federal criminal defendants have been arrested across the country.

When a person is put on the federal no-fly list, they would be stopped or undergo additional screening before going through a TSA checkpoint, according to the TSA.

That means the widely circulated footage of angry travelers being forced off of planes or screaming in a terminal likely aren't reacting to news that they've suddenly been put on the federal government's no-fly list, according to the TSA. Rather, they're more likely to be depictions of a well-known issue that has been plaguing airlines for months: Flight attendants and airline workers being forced to handle situations in which angry passengers refuse to comply with Covid-19-related safety policies.

Though airline CEOs have said the vast majority of passengers comply with the rules, anti-mask wearers vocally refusing to wear protective gear have disrupted flights in several high-profile cases.

(Conspiracy theories that the President has not disavowed — and that he has occasionally egged on — have attempted to paint Covid-19 as a "hoax.")

Last year, airlines warned passengers that they can enforce their own no-fly lists intended to ban disorderly customers from flying in the future. Hundreds of passengers are currently on those lists.

Airlines and two unions representing flight attendants, however, have said they are concerned about in-flight security as the pro-Trump rioters who stormed the US Capitol last week left the Washington, DC, area — particularly after several altercations on flights to DC ahead of the insurrection.

"We are incredibly concerned about recent politically motivated incidents on board passenger aircraft," read a statement from the APFA president Julie Hedrick. "Regardless of one's political beliefs, the cabin of a commercial aircraft must, out of necessity, be a calm environment for the safety of everyone onboard."

Alaska Airlines said in a statement that it banned 14 passengers that were on board a flight from DC to Seattle a day after the riot because they refused to wear masks and were "rowdy, argumentative and harassed our crew members."

Alaska said it has so far banned a total of 302 passengers for violating its mask policy since it went into effect last August 7.

The airlines don't necessarily share their no-fly lists with each other. Delta's CEO, for example, said last month that about 700 people are on the company's no-fly list. The discrepancy means that unruly passengers could simply book flights on different aircraft.

Meanwhile, union representatives are calling for the FBI to add as many rioters as possible to the federal no-fly list, and are encouraging federal regulators to do more to discourage dangerous or disturbing behavior on flights.

"Airlines and law enforcement agencies have bolstered security at Washington-area airports this week after reports of 'mob behavior' on flights in and out of the region surrounding Wednesday's siege on the US Capitol," according to a January 9 statement from the Association of Flight Attendants. "Every airline flying out of the region over the last several days has experienced incidents onboard. Flight Attendants House Homeland Security Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) on Thursday urged TSA and the FBI to add 'violent perpetrators' who participated in the Capitol riots to the federal No-Fly List."

Democrat Rep. Peter DeFazio, chair of the House Transportation Committee, said in a statement Monday that he is urging the FAA and its administrator, Stephen Dickson, "to limit the chance that the Nation's commercial airline system could be used as a means of mass transportation to Washington, DC, for further violence in connection with the inauguration."

The FAA issued a separate statement, announcing "unruly behavior on an airplane may violate federal law" and it can result in jail time and fines of up to $35,000.

Additional reporting by Gregory Wallace and Pete Muntean.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 501097

Reported Deaths: 9990
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison34338538
DeSoto32117403
Hinds31939628
Jackson24494382
Rankin21995390
Lee15543235
Madison14581280
Jones13851242
Forrest13453251
Lauderdale11991317
Lowndes11050188
Lamar10521135
Pearl River9533237
Lafayette8550140
Hancock7732127
Washington7438158
Oktibbeha7146131
Monroe6777177
Warren6694176
Pontotoc6664102
Neshoba6637206
Panola6531131
Marshall6467134
Bolivar6317148
Union602894
Pike5820152
Alcorn5669101
Lincoln5436135
George496879
Scott472898
Tippah469281
Prentiss467281
Leflore4658144
Itawamba4636105
Tate4588111
Adams4587119
Copiah448592
Simpson4446116
Yazoo444187
Wayne439772
Covington428894
Sunflower4239105
Marion4226108
Coahoma4160105
Leake408288
Newton381779
Grenada3707108
Stone360364
Tishomingo359792
Attala331589
Jasper329965
Winston314291
Clay308076
Chickasaw300367
Clarke292494
Calhoun279446
Holmes267987
Smith264050
Yalobusha234047
Tallahatchie228051
Greene219348
Walthall218763
Lawrence212940
Perry205556
Amite205156
Webster202946
Noxubee186740
Montgomery179656
Jefferson Davis171743
Carroll169138
Tunica159839
Benton148838
Kemper141941
Choctaw133426
Claiborne132737
Humphreys129538
Franklin120228
Quitman106428
Wilkinson105139
Jefferson94534
Sharkey64120
Issaquena1937
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 819597

Reported Deaths: 15406
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1147901924
Mobile725791338
Madison52306697
Shelby37597350
Baldwin37245552
Tuscaloosa35101612
Montgomery34106740
Lee23526246
Calhoun22225488
Morgan20941378
Etowah19825500
Marshall18361304
Houston17384412
St. Clair16054339
Cullman15443293
Limestone15343199
Elmore15241286
Lauderdale14302295
Talladega13836283
DeKalb12649261
Walker11202370
Blount10192176
Autauga10043148
Jackson9871184
Coffee9210191
Dale8897185
Colbert8860201
Tallapoosa7084198
Escambia6772134
Covington6712183
Chilton6641162
Russell636659
Franklin5959105
Chambers5607142
Marion5005127
Dallas4973200
Pike4795106
Clarke475584
Geneva4571127
Winston4516103
Lawrence4321117
Bibb425186
Barbour357776
Marengo338090
Monroe331464
Randolph329764
Butler326396
Pickens316284
Henry312666
Hale311388
Cherokee302860
Fayette292880
Washington251551
Cleburne247760
Crenshaw245275
Clay243368
Macon234663
Lamar224147
Conecuh186153
Coosa180240
Lowndes175164
Wilcox168839
Bullock151644
Perry138840
Sumter133038
Greene126744
Choctaw88527
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