- BBC News World
Two passengers accused of “disorderly behavior” have received the highest fines ever imposed by the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
The sanctions – amounting to tens of thousands of dollars – against the two travelers accused of violence, are part of the $2 million in fines that have already been imposed so far this year.
US airlines have seen a record number of unruly and unruly passengers since the start of 2021, with many incidents centered around refusal to wear antiviral masks in flight.
The fines were announced this Friday by US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.
“If you’re on a plane, don’t be foolish and don’t endanger the flight crew or passengers,” he told ABC’s The View. “If you do, the FAA will fine you.”
In one incident, an American Airlines passenger traveling from Texas to North Carolina received a fine of US$81,950 for threatening to harm one of the crew members.
One of them had offered help to the passenger after she had fallen in the aisle of the plane.
The passenger, who has not been named, allegedly then pushed another flight attendant and tried to open the cabin door. As several crew members tried to restrain her, she repeatedly struck another member of staff in the head.
When she was finally handcuffed, “she spit on, headbutted, bit and attempted to kick the crew and other passengers,” the FAA stated in a press release.
In the other incident, the passenger was flying Delta Air Lines from Las Vegas to Atlanta. She is accused of trying to “hug and kiss passengers sitting next to her, walking to the front of the aircraft to try to get out during the flight: refusing to return to her seat: and biting another passenger multiple times.”
That passenger, who also has not been named, was physically controlled by crew members and must now pay a $77,272 fine.
None of these incidents had to do with the refusal to adhere to the measures against covid.
In his interview with The View, Secretary Buttigieg said the US would decide by April 18 whether to extend the federal requirement to wear a mask on board planes and at airports.
The FAA announced a “zero tolerance” policy against rowdy passengers in January 2021 and has imposed some $7 million in fines since then.
The agency has recorded 7,060 “air rage” incidents and notes that nearly 70% of those were around mask rules. But the incident rate is down 60% from its peak last year.
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