Unruly flyers to face ban from flying for life

Reckless behaviour on a flight that endangers others on board could ground you for life. This is part of the rules for India’s first ever “no-fly list”, issued by the aviation ministry on Friday and now in force.

The list cites three levels of disruptive behaviour. The first is for “unruly physical gestures, verbal harassment and unruly inebriation” which can lead to a ban of up to three months.

The second level is for “physically abusive behaviour (pushing, kicking, hitting and inappropriate touching)” with a ban of up to six months. The final level is for “life-threatening behaviour, including assaults, damage to aircraft systems” that can lead to a ban from two years to a lifetime. The ban will be doubled for repeat offences.

The list will have two components: unruly passengers banned by airlines and people named by the home ministry as perceived national security risks. There will be checks and balances to ensure that airlines do not have a free run and falsely label anyone — like a flyer making a genuine complaint — an unruly passenger and then ground him or her.

Asked if VIPs like MPs will also face these provisions, aviation minister A G Raju said, “Any flying human being (sic) on an aircraft” will face these provisions. “The no-fly ban will be in addition to any statutory legal action that can be taken against the offender under existing laws.” Minister of state Jayant Sinha said the government will soon come out with rules for providing a unique ID card number with PNR to book tickets to ensure that a person on the no-fly list cannot fly by fudging details.

A person put on the list by one airline can still travel with other carriers as the rules that India has adopted are airline-wise and this is not a national no-fly list. While it is not mandatory for other airlines (Indian or foreign) to ground a person on one carrier’s no-fly list, they will have the option of doing so.