FAA Issues Over 3,000 Fines To Unruly Passengers

airlines Jun 23, 2021

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has been becoming stricter with passengers who do not follow their guidelines. On Monday, the FAA announced that is has received more than 3,000 reports of "unruly behavior" from airlines since the beginning of the year. The FAA announced in January that they would begin doling out harsher punishments for passengers who do not abide by Federal regulations and interfere with airline crew members.

Why Is The FAA Issuing Fines?

Federal Regulation states that "no person may assault, threaten, intimidate, or interfere with a crewmember" while on board a plane. Before COVID, that essentially meant that passengers needed to follow the directions of airline crews and act respectfully. Since COVID, it has become more complicated.

Current CDC guidelines still require masks to be worn on public transportation, such as buses, trains, and planes. They are also required in public hubs, such as airports and bus stations. The CDC will continue to evaluate the situation and amend the order when able. Until then, masks remain mandatory for air travel, even for those who are vaccinated.

In January 2021, an order was issued by FAA Administrator Steve Dickson bolstering their response to passengers who ignore federal regulations or who refuse to wear a mask, per CDC guidelines, for the duration of their flight. Since January, the FAA has proposed over $500,000 in fines. On Tuesday June 22nd, the FAA announced its latest round of passenger fines, totaling $124, 500 for the eight passengers.

Recent Fines

The recent press release from the FAA details the following fines for the eight passengers.

$9,000 fine: $9,000 was charged to a passenger on a February 19th Allegiant Air flight from Greensboro, N.C. to St. Petersburg, FL. It is alleged that the person was refusing to wear a face mask on the flight, even after repeatedly being asked to wear it. He clamorously argued with the flight attendant, unbuckled his seat belt, stood up, and video taped other passengers without their permission.

$10,500 fine: A $10,500 fine was issued due to an incident on a February 25th Southwest Airlines flight from Los Angeles, CA to Sacramento, CA. The passenger was allegedly not wearing his mask and was talking on his phone while the plane was on the runway awaiting takeoff. The passenger used profane language when the flight attendants instructed him to turn the phone off and wear his mask. The pilot returned to the gate and the passenger was escorted off the plane.

$14,000 fine: A passenger on an Endeavor Airlines flight from New York City, NY to Portland, ME was fined $14,000. During the February 25th flight, the passenger refused to wear her mask properly. When flight attendants spoke to her and handed the passenger a copy of the U.S. Federal Regulation Violation, she allegedly unbuckled her seat belt, when the "Fasten Seat Belt" sign was on, and stood up in objection. Law enforcement met the woman at the jetway upon arrival.

$14,000 fine: A $14,000 fine was imposed on a passenger from a January 21, 2021 flight. The Allegiant Air flight departed Syracuse, NY, headed for Fort Lauderdale, FL. The FAA alleges that this passenger drank alcohol that he brought on board himself, which is against FAA regulations. The passenger also screamed profanities at flight attendants when it was confiscated, refused to wear his mask, and was eventually moved to the back of the plane until landing.

$15,000 fine: A passenger on an Alaska Airlines flight from Chantilly, VA to Seattle, WA was slapped with a $15,000 fine. During the February 7th flight, the passenger refused to wear his mask and then proceeded to push and shove the flight attendant that approached him.

$19,000 fine: A SkyWest Airlines flight on January 20th also witnessed a confrontational incident. The international flight from Phoenix, AZ to Hermosillo, Mexico was rocked when a passenger became distraught at the news that the plane needed to return to Arizona due to inclement weather. The passenger began hitting the ceiling of the aircraft, started recording passengers without their permission, and hit another passenger in the right shoulder. He was escorted off the plane and issued a $19,000 fine.

$21,000 fine: On February 22nd, a Southwest Airlines flight was heading to Albuquerque, NM from Dallas, TX. The FAA alleges that the passenger refused to wear his face mask after several requests from the airline staff. The pilot taxied back to the gate and a supervisor came aboard to escort him off the plane. This passenger threw the face mask at the supervisor and hit him in his jaw. He was cited by Dallas PD with assault and fined $21,000 by the FAA.

$22,000 fine: A passenger on a brief SkyWest Airlines flight from Denver, CO to Gypsum, CO was fined $22,000 for his behavior. He also refused to wear his face mask, walked around the cabin when the "Fasten Seat Belt" sign was illuminated, and drank alcohol that the airline did not serve, which is against FAA regulations.

All of the above passengers refused to wear masks on the plane, and the incidents escalated from there. The FAA has made it clear that it will not tolerate any misbehavior from its passengers, including the refusal to wear a mask inside a plane.

How To Avoid Travel Hiccups

If you have travel plans this summer that includes air travel, remember to mask up and always be respectful to your attendants. If you are traveling abroad, make sure to check the country's vaccination and testing requirements. Some countries are launching vaccine passports, and others are not, so doing your homework ahead of time will save you time, energy, and stress. We have more travel tips posted exclusively on our app.

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