The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) proposed $225,287 in fines against 10 unruly passengers. The agency issued fines that ranged from $9,000 to $32,000 for each passenger. In total, the FAA proposed $1.45 million in fines against unruly air travelers.
As travel demand bounced back, one of the realities that flight crew have to face today is the number of unruly passengers. These unruly passengers showcased disruptive and violent behaviors onboard commercial flights. Some passengers verbally assaulted the flight crew while others even threw punches.
FAA Proposed a Total of $1.45 Million in Fines
In one particular case, a Southwest Airlines passenger received a fine of more than $26,000 for punching a flight attendant on May 5th. The flight attendant needed medical attention after the assault. The FAA also said that the same passenger attempted to open and enter the cockpit. The flight crew decided to make the passenger seat on the floor as the plane landed.
Since the start of the year, there were 5,114 cases of unruly passengers reported to the agency. Over 70% of these cases involved the improper wearing of masks.
FAA Working with the FBI
Last week, the agency announced that it is getting the help of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. In a joint statement, the FAA and the Justice Department said that they share info about unruly air travelers. This announcement was made after months of pressure from the airline workers union to prosecute unruly air passengers.
The joint statement said that “Where the evidence supports criminal review, the FAA refers the cases to the FBI”.
Unfortunately, the FAA can’t prosecute criminal cases. However, they can assess the civil fines for cases. It has the authority to propose penalties of up to $37,000.
FAA Administrator Steve Dickson said that “I think we’re making good progress”. He added that “but there’s certainly more to be done”. He explained that this will “require the cooperation of all those private-sector stakeholders and including the airports, as well as the various aspects of the federal government”. The FAA has a zero-tolerance policy on unruly air travelers.