The incident follows an increasing trend of armed and rowdy travelers.
A man from Utah is facing federal charges after allegedly assaulting a lady with a razor blade aboard a JetBlue flight from John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) to Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC) on Tuesday. The incident follows a trend of increasingly rowdy travelers taking to the skies in current months.
JetBlue flight from JFK to SLC
- 41-year-old Merrill Darrell Fackrell of Utah was charged with carrying a weapon on an aircraft and assault with a dangerous weapon following an incident that involved an interaction with a couple sitting next to him on the flight.
Airport Authorities have said that the lady sitting next to Fackrell was watching a movie with her headphones in when he blocked the screen with his hand and said her to pause the movie.
The lady then proceeded to remove her headphones and realized that Fackrell had what she believed at the time to be a blade pointed at her neck; the weapon was later determined to be a straight razor.
Fackrell then stood up and yelled “She’s going to be OK” and “No one needs to be worried” before rudely and aggressively said the lady’s husband to leave. As her husband got up to seek help from flight attendants, the lady was able to spring towards the aisle and escape.
A separate passenger named Rob was eventually able to convince Fackrell to give up the straight razor to flight attendants for safekeeping. Once the aircraft landed at the airport, Fackrell was arrested by the local police.
Authorities are unsure how Fackrell was able to get a straight razor through airport security and onto the flight. It is also worth noting that he was heavily inebriated at the time when this incident took place and was purportedly said to himself in the moments leading to the airport confrontation.
Transportation Security Administration
Unfortunately, the incident with Fackrell is not an isolated one. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) informed having conducted 1,099 investigations into an unruly traveler in the last year 2021–a drastic growth from the 183 that it conducted in 2020.
And as of November 1st of the current year, there are 2,178 reports of such passengers. As the industry heads into the holiday season and travel demand for continues to return to pre-pandemic levels, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is rightfully concerned about disruptive passengers on planes.
As a result, it is introducing new security measures that depend on improved x-ray technology at airports to confirm the safe passage of travelers taking to the skies.
Although existing measures have proven successful at catching potential security threats, the agency hopes that its newer machines will be more effective at identifying less obvious threats, such as the straight razor operated in the assault by Fackrell.
The altercation with Fackrell arrives at that moment when the number of incidents involving unruly passengers on flights is on the rise.
Although no one was hurt, the fact that Fackrell was able to get a straight razor past airport security and aboard a aircraft highlights a significant flaw in the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) vetting procedures and is something that must be addressed urgently.
Hopefully, the addition of good and better security measures can aid prevent such incidents from occurring in the future, ultimately ensuring a safer travel experience for all passengers.
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Source: Simple Flying