Bad behavior among the flying public is on the rise, and so is the Federal Aviation Administration’s lack of tolerance for those unwilling to follow the rules.
The FAA says that passengers who don’t comply with airline rules, which include wearing a mask at least through September 13th, could be fined up to $35,000, be banned from an airline for life, and face criminal charges.
This may seem harsh, but the FAA says it’s received 1,300 unruly passenger reports just since February. It’s a number the FAA didn’t closely track because it had been fairly consistent year over year. But recently, the FAA began to see a significant increase in unruly passenger reports coming from the airlines.
The FAA says it’s “strictly enforcing a zero-tolerance policy toward passengers who cause disturbances on flights, fail to obey flight crew instructions in violation of FAA’s regulations, or engage in conduct prescribed by federal law.”
They add, “federal law prohibits interfering with aircraft crew or physically assaulting or threatening to physically assault aircraft crew or anyone else on an aircraft.” Another rule that’s being broken: passengers bringing on and drinking their own alcohol.
The FAA just announced a $31,750 fine against a JetBlue passenger flying from Haiti to Boston in January 2021. The report says the passenger drank his own alcohol, yelled at flight attendants, and grabbed the arms of two of them. A passenger on the same flight was fined $16,750 for yelling curse words at the flight attendants and acting like he was going to hit one of them. He also brought his own alcohol onboard and was drinking it.
The union president for the Association of Flight Attendants, Sara Nelson, told NBC News, “What we have seen on our planes is flight attendants being physically assaulted, pushed, choked.” She added that one passenger even spit in the mouth of a child during a flight.
With summer travel season expected to be a busy one, the FAA is hoping its zero-tolerance policy will deter unruly behavior.
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