Let me try to answer the question and UAL777CONTRAIL, if my information is dated, please correct me.
It is my understanding that blacklisted passengers names are built into the airline's res system's database. How it works is that, at the time the res agent hits end, a warning will come up asking the res agent to refer to a profile (since there are many people with the same name) and crosscheck the information. If the information matches, a supervisor is brought into discuss the issue with the passenger and remind him that he has been banned for travel on that airline.
With regard to comments that state that it takes a long time in the US for someone to be banned, that is not correct. It really depends on two factors: 1) what kind of offense and 2) how often is the person guilty of doing it. If, for example, a passenger "interferes" with flight attendants, if it is not a big offense, then the passenger will receive a warning (after paying their fine). If the offense happens a second time, then the passenger is banned. If the offense is big, say, the inteference causes a danger to the cabin staff or passengers, then the airline will take action right away (based on the investigation) and ban them either for a period of time or for life.
Lastly, no one has the "right" to fly on an airline. The purchase of air travel is a contract between the airline and the passengers, with certain requirements for both parties As long as the passenger adheres to the airline's standards of passenger conduct (which are pretty similar in the US), then once the airline gets the passenger from A to B with his bag, then the contract is concluded. The only other thing the airline has to keep in mind is that they do not discriminate against people of color, as that is a violation of Federal Law. However, if the passenger pop up on the federal list (which is in the airport's computer system), then that person can expect anything from additional questions all the way up to and including denied boarding.
If a passenger breaches those standards of conduct (which by the way tend to be legal standards on board an aircraft), then the airline has the right and the duty to ban the passenger for life. While the passenger who (allegedly) committed the offense is afforded due process in our legal system, the airline is not required to afford the passenger due process if, in its investigative conclusion, the passenger could present a danger to cabin crew or passengers, so long as they do not violate the law doing it.
Each airline has a security division that is dedicated to assuring the security of the airline (property, employees, passengers,etc.). They do the investigation and pass the recommendation on to a company officer, who is usually the person who makes the final decision regarding any lifetime ban. I can tell you during my career as a Area Manager, I had been contacted three times from our internal security department about certain passengers based on reports of bad behavior. I received a report from our Station Manager every time there was an incident. Only once did our airline ban a local passenger for life. Thankfully, I did not have to inform that person of the airline's decision.
In this day and age, airlines are no longer tolerant of bad behavior on board an aircraft (not to say that they were lenient before). Their is no democracy on board an aircraft. The Captain is the final authority, as he has ultimate responsibility for the lives on board his/her aircraft. That said, if a passenger does not follow a crew member instruction, the Captain at his/her discretion (within the limitation of the regulations) can and will have authorities standing by at the gate to detain the offender.
These days, any kind of activity when someone is approaching the front or rear of the aircraft is highly scrutinized. In fact, I know of one airline who requires their flight attendant to stand in the galley across from the forward lav every time a passengers enters the WC
. Nothing is too extreme these days.
The short of it is, if you are unruly, there will be consequences. If you present a possible danger to the passengers or crew, you will be put in jail upon arrival.
It would be really handy if airlines would offer voluntary training courses for passengers for what to do (or not to do) in the case of an unruly passenger or, in the case of the post regarding the NW
flight with the 12 Arab passengers who were acting VERY suspiciously on board, how to act so that the crew is kept informed, but that no one is dealt with unfairly. Unless of course, something happens. As a former airline manager, I have no problem assisting the crew in an emergency and am prepared to follow their instructions to protect the aircraft and passengers, no matter what the consequences to myself.
Let's hope I never have to do that and that we all take a measure of responsibility to assist our crew members when and if they ask for it.
to everyone, please stay safe and vigilant.
David L. Lamb, fmr Area Mgr Alitalia SFO 1998-2002, fmr Regional Analyst SFO-UAL 1992-1998