Unruly Airline Passenger Faces Record $52,500 Fine as FAA Continues Crackdown

The agency is coming down hard on badly behaved passengers amid a rise in disruptions.

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Airlines were hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic. Far fewer people have been taking to the skies, and tensions have been running high among those who are. In fact, The Points Guy reports that the FAA has received more than 1,300 reports of unruly passengers on U.S. airlines since February alone.

In response, it’s slamming poorly behaved passengers with record fines, having implemented a zero-tolerance policy in January after disruptions on flights related to the US Capitol attack.

On Monday, the FAA revealed in a press release that it was proposing a record-high fine of $52,500, following a disturbance onboard a Delta Air Lines flight from Honolulu to Seattle on December 23, 2020. The passenger is accused of trying to open the cockpit door, ignoring crew members, and hitting a flight attendant in the face. The aforementioned flight attendant was also allegedly knocked over and threatened by said passenger, who was eventually restrained temporarily with a set of plastic handcuffs. The passenger managed to escape the cuffs, however, proceeding to hit the same flight attendant again, before getting arrested upon landing, per the FAA.

The FAA announced three other proposed civil penalties in the same press release. Passengers faced with these have 30 days to make an appeal, according to the agency.

Another passenger is being fined $27,000 for an incident on board a January Southwest flight from Phoenix to Chicago, which had to be diverted to Oklahoma City as a result. Per the agency, the passenger in question had made bomb and death threats. He was arrested upon landing. 

A third passenger is being fined $18,500 for refusing to properly wear a mask during a February flight from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to Las Vegas as well as for drinking alcohol he brought on the plane himself, which is illegal.

A fourth passenger is being fined $9,000 after allegedly refusing to wear a mask and cursing at flight attendants on a February Frontier Airlines flight from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to Knoxville, Tennessee.

While new CDC guidance allows fully vaccinated people to ditch masks in most public places, this is not the case on planes and in airports.

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Caitlyn Hitt is Daria IRL. Don't take our word for it—find her on Twitter @nyltiaccc.