BY FRANK WITSIL
DETROIT FREE PRESS/TNS
Delta is threatening to permanently ban rude passengers, according to a travel blog quoting a memo to employees from the airline’s CEO.
“Those who refuse to display basic civility to our people or their fellow travelers are not welcome on Delta,” Delta CEO Ed Bastian wrote. “Their actions will not be tolerated, and they will not have the privilege of flying our airline ever again.”
Bastian prefaced this by saying that “respect and civility to others on our planes, at our airports, in our workplaces, and in our society — even when we have differences of opinion — have always been a requirement for our people and our customers.”
Ben Schlappig, the travel consultant and frequent flyer who wrote the blog item, said the violence that broke out at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 has “changed a lot of things in the travel industry,” including the adoption of more restrictive policies.
Complaints pile up
The pandemic and mask wearing has been another issue that airlines have had to contend with and one of the biggest disruptions to the industry since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, which forever changed airport security procedures.
So far, Delta has banned more than 800 passengers related to mask compliance, according to onemileatatime.com. Those passengers, the blog said, will be able to fly again when the mask mandate ends.
Squabbles over a variety of things — ranging from complaints about the size of seats to carry on bags — seem to be escalating. They also are getting national attention through social media when they are recorded on video and widely shared.
On Jan. 4, after passengers in Detroit headed to Atlanta attacked two Spirit Airlines agents at Detroit Metro Airport, that airline said it also would not tolerate abusive behavior and would ban passengers from future travel.
Both of the agents were injured from the dispute. One of the agents was taken to a hospital, a Sprint spokesperson said. Police arrested two of the passengers and wrote a third a citation. The gents asked the passengers to verify the size of their carryon bags before boarding.
The ban Delta’s Bastian is threatening would apply permanently, the blog suggested.
Schlappig said that, in his view, such a ban is “long overdue,” and he hopes that it will deter bad behavior because “there’s simply no room for people to get into fights at airports and on airplanes.”