Attorney General Merrick Garland told federal prosecutors on Wednesday to prioritize prosecuting crimes committed on airplanes during the holiday travel season, amid a startling rise in unruly or violent conduct by airline passengers this year.
Garland sent a memo Wednesday afternoon urging U.S. Attorneys to “prioritize prosecution of federal crimes occurring on commercial aircraft that endanger the safety of passengers, flight crews, and flight attendants.”
The memo also said prosecutors should encourage local law enforcement agencies to quickly report any suspected illegal conduct in the skies.
The DOJ cited a recent uptick in criminal inflight behavior, including possible violations of a federal law barring airline passengers from assaulting, threatening or interfering with flight crews and flight attendants.
Garland’s memo comes amid the Thanksgiving travel season. The Covid-19 pandemic severely reduced travel last year, but AAA projects 4.2 million Americans will