US inflight disturbances jump 500%, 85 TSA officers assaulted


Travelers enter a new Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screening area during the opening of the Terminal 1 expansion at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) on June 4, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. – – The terminal expansion is part of a $477.5 million infrastructure project to expand passenger capacity including security screening, baggage, and a future connection to the Automated People Mover (APM) train system. (Photo by Patrick T. FALLON / AFP) (Photo by PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) — U.S. federal agencies are dealing with a rising number of unruly airline passengers on increasingly crowded airplanes, including thousands who have refused to wear masks.

The Federal Aviation Administration said Tuesday that since Jan. 1 it has received 3,509 unruly passenger reports, including 2,605 refusing to wear a mask.

The Transportation Security Administration told a U.S. House panel that since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic there have been over 85 physical assaults on TSA officers.

Inflight disturbances have risen from 2 incidents per 1 million screened in 2019 to 12 per 1 million in 2021, according to the TSA.

The rising numbers of incidents come as U.S. air travel has hit a post February 2020 high as more Americans get vaccinated.

Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Andrea Ricci, (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2021. 

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