The Federal Aviation Administration is asking the FBI to investigate 22 other runaway plane passengers for crimes including sexual assault, bomb threat and attempted cockpit break-in.
The additional cases referred to federal authorities in the second quarter of this year brought the number of investigation requests to 39 in 2023. according to the FAA.
The nearly two dozen cases that could lead to criminal charges date as late as December 2021 and as early as April of this year.
One of the two April cases involved a passenger who had to be handcuffed after yelling, verbally abusing and throwing objects at passengers, the FAA said.
Some of the more staggering and troubling allegations included a passenger attempting to vandalize the cockpit in February 2023, sexually assaulting female passengers in January 2023, and dropping a bomb threat on fellow passengers in October 2022, according to the FAA.
Two passengers reportedly assaulted a fellow passenger on a flight in June 2022, and one passenger assaulted a flight attendant in January 2023, the FAA said.
And another passenger is said to have sexually and physically assaulted an unaccompanied minor in July 2022.
Other disruptive behaviors listed included passengers smoking vape, smoking in the plane’s lavatory, or drinking their own alcohol, according to the FAA.
“Unruly behavior poses serious safety concerns for passengers and crew, which is why we are vigorously addressing this issue,” US Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg said in a statement.
“If you behave on an airplane, you face criminal prosecution and fines of up to $37,000 per violation.”
Since the end of 2021, more than 270 cases have been escalated to the FBI to ensure lousy aviators are prosecuted when necessary, the FAA found.