Unruly, Maskless Flyers Face Thousands Of Dollars In Fines: FAA
ACROSS AMERICA — What could not wearing a mask on your next flight cost you? If you catch COVID-19, it may cost you your life. Under a new proposal by the Federal Aviation Administration, it may also cost you thousands of dollars in fines.
In a possible sign that the airline industry has had it with unruly passengers during the coronavirus pandemic, the FAA on Thursday proposed $531,545 in civil penalties against 34 airline passengers, according to multiple reports.
Some are facing fines as high as $9,000 for not masking up on their flight.
Since Jan. 1, the FAA has received 3,889 reports of unruly passengers, according to the agency’s website. More than two-thirds of the complaints were related to masks.
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As part of the FAA’s Reauthorization Bill, the agency can propose up to $37,000 per violation for unruly passenger cases. Previously, the maximum civil penalty per violation was $25,000.
The most recent batch of fines is in response to the FAA’s zero-tolerance policy, adopted earlier this year amid a rise in reported incidents on flights.
Twenty-two of the 34 cases with proposed fines involve passengers accused of not complying with the mask mandate, which this week was extended into January 2022, The Washington Post reported.
The largest proposed fine is $45,000, levied against a JetBlue Airways passenger, The Hill reported. In May, the man allegedly threw objects at other passengers, refused to stay in his seat, laid on the floor and put his head up a flight attendant’s skirt.
Another JetBlue Airways passenger is facing a $42,000 fine for failing to comply with the face mask mandate and other misbehavior including “making stabbing gestures towards certain passengers and snorting what appeared to be cocaine from a plastic bag, which the cabin crew confiscated,” Reuters reported.
A $30,000 fine is proposed against a Frontier Airlines passenger who, on a January flight from Atlanta to New York, tried to gain entry to the flight deck by physically assaulting two flight attendants, threatening to kill one of them, and demanding they open the door, according to Reuters.
A passenger has 30 days to respond when the FAA proposes a fine. In mid-July the FAA told The Post it had resolved seven cases.