Recently, the Federal Aviation Administration has started slamming “unruly” passengers who resort to behaving violently and aggressively refuse to wear masks with fines in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
As stated in a press release this past Tuesday, the agency has been the recipient of over 3,100 reports of aggressively disruptive passengers. of which, over 2,400 of these reports have been filed due to passengers “refusing to comply with the federal facemask mandate.”
The FAA has issued the proposal of a total of $124,500 in civil penalties aimed at a group of eight passengers.
$14,000 against a passenger on a Feb. 25, 2021, Endeavor Airlines flight from New York City, N.Y., to Portland, Maine. The FAA alleges that flight attendants repeatedly told the passenger to wear her mask properly. A flight attendant also gave her a Notice of U.S. Federal Regulation Violation. The passenger allegedly unfastened her seatbelt and stood while the “Fasten Seat Belt” sign was illuminated. Flight attendants notified the pilots of the situation, and law enforcement met the aircraft at the arrival gate.
$10,500 against a passenger on a Feb. 25, 2021, Southwest Airlines flight from Los Angeles, Calif., to Sacramento, Calif. The FAA alleges that while the aircraft was on the runway prior to takeoff, the passenger was not wearing his mask and was talking on his phone. After two crew members instructed him to turn off his phone and wear his mask several times, he began to use profane language and told the flight attendants to go away. As a result, the captain returned the flight to the gate, and a Southwest customer service representative escorted the passenger off the aircraft. Law enforcement met the passenger on the jetway.
In previous days, a group called Airlines for America, which is a coalition of the leading aviation firms, has begged the FAA to become harshed on violent passenger behavior:
Unfortunately, we continue to see onboard behavior deteriorating into heinous acts, including assaults, threats and intimidation of crewmembers that directly interfere with the performance of crewmember duties and jeopardize the safety and security of everyone onboard the aircraft. Despite efforts of the FAA and airlines — including lifetime bans and suspension of onboard alcohol service — the incidents continue and appear to be intensifying.
Back in January, the FAA issued an announcement that a “stricter legal enforcement policy” was being put in place against any such passengers who have disrupted flights with violent behavior:
Historically, the agency has addressed unruly-passenger incidents using a variety of methods ranging from warnings and counseling to civil penalties. Effective immediately, however, the FAA will not address these cases with warnings or counseling. The agency will pursue legal enforcement action against any passenger who assaults, threatens, intimidates, or interferes with airline crew members. This policy will be in effect through March 30, 2021.
Groups of officials claimed that the incidents stem “both from passengers’ refusals to wear masks and from recent violence at the U.S. Capitol.”