(CNN) — Federal authorities want passengers to know that thousands of violent outbursts on commercial flights are not only a problem for flight attendants, but they distract pilots from keeping the entire flight safe.
In a Tuesday public service announcement video released first to CNN, the Federal Aviation Administration says, “You don’t want your pilots distracted. Unruly behavior doesn’t fly.”
The FAA says the dramatic video features actual recordings of flight crews informing air traffic controllers of emergency situations in the passenger cabin, interspersed with audio of in-flight scuffles that continue to surface on social media.
“We’ve got a disruptive customer in the back,” says the voice of one unidentified flight crew in the video. “Declared an emergency, we’d like to divert.”
‘Unruly behavior doesn’t fly’
“The moment that it happens in the back, the attention of the whole crew goes to that,” American Airlines’ Captain Dennis Tajer, of the Allied Pilots Association, told CNN. “The first thing you want to do is not distract from your primary duties,” chief of which is “keeping this airplane safe.”
“Making these prosecutions public will put a spotlight on the serious consequences when breaking the law and will act as an effective deterrent against future onboard disruptions,” the unions wrote in a letter this summer also signed by three groups representing airlines.
House Transportation Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio said DOJ prosecutions “would take some of the load off the FAA,” while also showing passengers and crewmembers that the incidents are taken seriously.
Top photo: A plane takes off Miami International Airport in June 2021. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)