FAA Fines for Unruly Behavior This Year Exceed $1 Million

FAA Fines for Unruly Behavior This Year Exceed $1 Million


The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced that it has proposed another $531,545 in civil penalties against more than 30 airline passengers for alleged unruly behavior. The fines, which are a part of the agency’s Zero Tolerance campaign against unruly passenger behavior, bring the total for 2021 to more than $1 million.

The FAA detailed 34 cases in a release published Thursday, with penalties ranging from $7,500 for a JetBlue passenger who allegedly threatened to kill another passenger seated in front of him on a March 6 flight from Boston to Miami to $45,000 for another JetBlue passenger who’s accused of committing a bevy of despicable acts on a May 24 flight from New York to Orlando.

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According to the FAA, the man allegedly threw his carry-on luggage and other objects at fellow passengers; refused to stay seated; laid down on the floor of the aisle and refused to get up, grabbed a flight attendant by the ankles and put his head up her skirt. The passenger was ultimately restrained with flex cuffs and escorted off of the plane after the flight made an emergency landing in Richmond.

Many of the cases involve individuals refusing to adhere to the federal mask mandate, which was recently extended into early next year. Since January 1, 2021, the FAA has received approximately 3,889 reports of unruly behavior by passengers, including roughly 2,867 reports of passengers refusing to comply with the mask mandate.

In a case in which the FAA is proposing a $42,000 fine, a passenger on a JetBlue flight from Queens, New York to San Francisco on May 16 allegedly interfered with crewmembers after refusing to wear a mask. The individual is also accused of making non-consensual physical contact with another passenger, throwing a playing card at a passenger, making stabbing gestures to others and snorting a substance that appeared to be cocaine from a plastic bag before becoming “increasingly agitated,” prompting crew members to equip themselves with flex cuffs and ice mallets and divert the flight to Minneapolis.

In addition to releasing a public service announcement to remind passengers how to behave on flights, the FAA recently sent a letter to airports asking that they coordinate more closely with local law enforcement to prosecute heinous cases of unruly behavior and also requesting that airports work to prevent passengers from boarding planes with to-go cups of alcohol.





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