Here's how FAA is getting help from kids, social media to teach adults to behave on flights

David Louie Image
ByDavid Louie KGO logo
Saturday, July 10, 2021
FAA hoping kids can teach adults to behave on flights
The FAA is using social media -- and kids -- to try to stop unruly behavior before they board.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Once on board, it can be too late to stop passengers who disrupt flights over masks and crew instructions. So the FAA is using social media -- and kids -- to try to stop unruly behavior before they board.

Over $680,000 in fines have been levied by the FAA for unruly airline passenger behavior. Sensing fines are not enough, the agency is turning to social media to get its zero tolerance message across.

"Fighting is not good when you're on a plane," a boy says as the new video starts.

EXCLUSIVE: Passenger on SFO-bound flight refuses to wear mask, snorts substance, becomes abusive

It was a tense situation on a flight from JFK Airport in New York to San Francisco International Airport after an unruly passenger refused to wear a mask, began snorting a "white substance," and then was accused of touching at least one female passenger.

Entitled "Kids Talk: How to Behave on a Plane," it has enlisted kids to send a message to adults about their behavior. A true reversal of the traditional parent-child relationship.

"They should know better. They're like adults," says a girl shown on a swing as the video continues. "They're grown-ups, and they have to play a good role model," says another girl.

Nearly 3,300 reports of disruptive incidents have been reported this year, two thirds of those objecting to the mask requirement. That's double the number of reports last year. The FAA has been brainstorming how best to get passengers to obey flight attendants. It features some of the agency's own kids.

RELATED: 3,000 unruly passengers so far this year -- 2,300 cases over mask wearing: FAA

"I think it's very disrespectful," says another boy in the video.

Will it work? San Jose State psychologist Leslye Tinson points out some cultures believe it's disrespectful for children to engage in adult business. However, this video just might get adults to pay attention.

"I think it's important that adults take the opportunity to maybe humble ourselves a bit around how children can help us really re-center ourselves when you're supposed to be the role models," Tinson said.

RELATED: FAA proposes $52,500 fine against unruly passenger

In addition to the new online video, the FAA also has been tweeting memes with clever messages. One points out that a fine for disrupting a flight could cover the cost of buying a new truck.

The FAA is looking into other methods to change conduct. Simply stated, "you should stop!" says a girl as the 38-second video ends with a message on a classroom blackboard: "Even children know it's not safe to disrupt a flight."

Are adults listening?