The world is coming together to defeat unruly airline passengers. A new treaty became effective on Jan. 1 that deals with how airlines and governing authorities can handle disruptive passengers on flights. However, one country is noticeably absent from the effort.
The Montreal Protocol 2014 (MP14) widens the ability for countries to deal with unruly passengers on international flights. Protocol up until this point has given authority for dealing with problematic passengers to a flight's departure country. However, the new treaty expands the ability to respond to the country where a flight is scheduled to land. Why is this important? Far too many passengers were getting away with bad behavior simply because there were too many loopholes.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is giving the treaty its full endorsement. The IATA notes that up to 60 percent of cases involving flight disrupters are not prosecuted because the country where the flight lands has no legal authority to take action. The IATA and other bodies are hoping that more countries will join the treaty to create a uniform process for prosecuting passengers who cause problems on flights around the globe. One major country that decided to skip the treaty this time around is the United States.
Why would the United States be resistant to signing MP14? No clear answer has been given. However, the somewhat obvious answer is that officials in the United States are concerned that the treaty could impact the role of marshals on airplanes. The treaty states that ratifying countries have no obligation to allow security from other countries to operate within their territories.