When the Federal Aviation Administration says it has zero tolerance for airline passengers behaving badly, it means business.
In what has become a weekly occurrence, the agency on Monday proposed fines totaling $64,500 against five passengers from incidents earlier this year on three U.S. airlines. The new penalties come a week after it proposed fines totaling $107,000 against four unruly passengers.To date this month, it has proposed $258,250 in total penalties.
The new infractions include mask struggles, a constant problem during the pandemic, and passengers bringing their own alcohol on board or sharing alcohol from first class.
“Wear a mask. It’s required. Period,” Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA International said in a statement on the latest proposed fines. “The freedom of flight depends on all of us following the rules and treating others with respect. Flight attendants are charged with the safety, health and security of everyone in the cabin. Our instructions to the traveling public keep everyone safe. Listen up and do your part. The consequences are steep if you do not, and the FAA isn’t playing around on this.”
The latest proposed fines:
► $15,000 against a passenger on a Feb. 22 JetBlue Airways flight from Miami to Los Angeles. The FAA alleges a passenger in economy class visited a friend in first class and brought back the free items served in the front of the plane, including champagne, food and a headset. The flight attendant carried the items back to first class, called Mint on JetBlue. The passenger followed the flight attendant to the first-class section and allegedly assaulted him with her body and almost pushed him into the bathroom, the FAA says. The flight was diverted to Austin, Texas, and the passenger was removed.
► $15,000 against a passenger on a Jan. 10 JetBlue flight from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to Los Angeles. The FAA says the passenger twice drank alcohol he brought on board despite flight attendants telling him that was prohibited. The passenger also talked on his cell phone during the flight and yelled at the flight attendant when told not to do that.
►$15,000 against a passenger on a Jan. 7 Alaska Airlines flight from Washington-Dulles to Seattle. When flight attendants walked down the aisle to check for mask compliance, the passenger “pushed and/or shoved” the attendant, the FAA alleges.
► $10,500 against a passenger on a March 17 JetBlue flight from from Orlando, Florida, to New York for mask noncompliance. The FAA alleges that the passenger did not comply with instructions about face-mask requirements andswore when he was approached several times by a flight attendant. A flight attendant then knelt down next to him, the FAA says, quietly asked him to lower his voice, and reminded him of the face-mask requirement. He refused to comply and continued to yell and use profanity. Flight attendants notified the captain, and the passenger was asked to get off the plane. “He became combative and irate and loudly refused to get off,” the FAA says. He allegedly screamed at the flight attendant when leaving the plane. The incident delayed the flight by nearly half an hour.
► $9,000 against a passenger on a Feb. 20 Southwest Airlines flight from Oakland, California, to Houston. The FAA alleges a flight attendant asked the passenger to pull his face mask up so it covered his nose, and the passenger refused to comply. The flight attendant gave the passenger a mask, and he threw it on the floor, according to the FAA. “The flight attendant explained the CDC and TSA mask requirement again and asked the passenger to acknowledge what she was saying,” the FAA says. “He said he would not comply with the policy and that facemask-wearing would not be enforced in Texas.” The captain asked law enforcement to meet the plane in Houston.