Transportation

FAA proposes record fines for unruly passenger behavior

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced on Friday that it had proposed record fines on two passengers for alleged unruly behavior.

The agency is seeking to impose a nearly $82,000 fine against one passenger after she allegedly threatened a flight attendant seeking to help her during an American Airlines flight in July 2021. 

The passenger had fallen into the aisle when a flight attendant offered to help, only for the passenger to threaten to hurt them in response, according to the FAA. 

“​​The passenger then pushed the flight attendant aside and tried to open the cabin door. Two flight attendants tried to restrain the passenger, but she repeatedly hit one of the flight attendants on the head,” the agency said. “After the passenger was restrained in flex cuffs, she spit at, headbutted, bit and tried to kick the crew and other passengers. Law enforcement apprehended her in Charlotte.”

The FAA proposed a $77,272 against a second passenger after she allegedly tried to embrace a fellow passenger during a Delta Air Lines flight in July 2021.

The FAA alleged that crew had to physically restrain the passenger after she tried to later leave the flight, bit a different passenger several times and would not return to her seat.

“Look, it’s one thing to be grumpy on a flight. … It’s another thing to endanger flight crews and to endanger fellow passengers; we have no tolerance for that,” Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said during an appearance on “The View” ahead of the FAA’s announcement.

“Bottom line is if you do it on an airplane and you endanger flight crews and fellow passengers, you will be fined by the FAA, and you may be referred for criminal prosecution as well and you might lose the privilege of flying on that airline,” he added.

Last November, Attorney General Merrick Garland ordered the Department of Justice to prioritize the prosecution of unruly passenger behavior.

During the pandemic, reports of passengers acting out on planes have come as flight attendants and other crew members have enforced face masking and other COVID-19 protocols, which has been met with resistance by some Americans. 

Tags American Airlines Delta Air Lines FAA Federal Aviation Administration Merrick Garland Pete Buttigieg

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