An American Airlines passenger was ordered to pay the airline $38,952 for her unruly behavior on a flight last year. The female passenger pleaded guilty to interfering with a flight crew member.
Unruly Passenger Threatened Flight Crew Members
In a press release issued by the US Attorney’s office in Arizona, Cayla Farris threatened flight crew members while using profanity when she traveled from Phoenix to Hawaii on February 13, 2022.
According to prosecutors, the unruly American Airlines passenger’s behavior stopped flight attendants from doing their jobs. And because of this, the captain decided to fly back to Phoenix. The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Phoenix Police Department were in charge of the case.
Aside from the fine, the 29-year-old Farris was punished by the federal court in Arizona to serve 3.6 months in prison. Plus, Farris is set to have three years of supervised release. And during this time, she will be banned from flying on a commercial flight without an authorization.
The government has been stepping up its approach against unruly passengers after cases of air rage increased during the pandemic. In 2021, there were almost 6,000 cases of unruly passengers reported. But compared to 2019’s figures, there were only around 1,100 that year. While the numbers dropped in recent years, it is still above pre-pandemic levels.
This isn’t the first time that an unruly passenger caused American Airlines to divert its flight. Last summer, a passenger sprayed pepper spray onboard causing a Miami to New York flight to be diverted to Jacksonville. Then in 2022, a passenger was arrested when he entered the cockpit and damaged the controls.
The FAA investigates cases of unruly passengers based on the reports given by airline crews. The FAA warned that the agency has a zero tolerance policy when it comes to unruly passengers. The agency said that “unsafe behavior can land you in jail with hefty fines.”