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FAA Proposes Record $52,500 Fine Under “Zero Tolerance” Policy

Hand einer jungen Frau in Handschellen Hand of a young woman in handcuffs

The Federal Aviation Administration is proposing their highest-ever fines against a flyer accused of assaulting flight attendants and trying to open the cockpit door during a flight. The new round of penalties brings the total proposed fines since Dec. 18, 2020 to over $300,000.

The Federal Aviation Administration is pursuing a record-high $52,500 penalty against a flyer accused of trying to open the cockpit door during a flight and physically fighting with flight attendants on a flight from Honolulu to Seattle. The agency announced the new watermark along with three other proposed actions, ranging from $9,000 to $27,000.

Over $50,000 in Proposed Fines for Attempting to Open Cockpit Door, Fighting with Crew

The new record fine is being pursued against a flyer aboard a Delta Air Lines flight between the island state and Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) on Dec. 23, 2020. During the flight, the passenger allegedly attempted to open the cockpit door after departure and refused to listen to crew member instructions.

Once confronted, the flyer then allegedly struck the crewmember in the face, pushed them to the floor, and threatened them as the attendant tried to restrain the flyer. Although the flight crew were able to place the person in plastic handcuffs with the help of another passenger, the aggressor reportedly slipped out of the cuffs and attacked the flight attendant a second time. Police took the passenger into custody once the flight landed in Seattle.

The FAA is also going after a flyer aboard a Southwest Airlines flight from Phoenix to Chicago to the tune of $27,000. According to the agency, the passenger became agitated during the flight and started banging his hands against another seat. He later supposedly claimed that he had a bomb, was going to blow up the aircraft and would kill someone on the flight. The pilots diverted the flight to Oklahoma City, where the flyer was arrested.

The two other incidents which the FAA are proposing financial penalties against flyers are:

  • A passenger on a Feb. 5, 2021 JetBlue flight from Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. To Las Vegas. The flyer was accused of drinking alcohol from several mini bottles not served to him and not properly wearing a face covering during the flight. The FAA is proposing a fine of $18,500 for his behavior.
  • A flyer aboard a Feb. 15, 2021 Allegiant Air flight from Ft. Lauderdale to Knoxville, Tenn., who stands accused of refusing to wear a face covering and later verbally accosting flight attendants over the infraction. The FAA is proposing a $9,000 fine for her actions.

Fines Issued Since December 2020 Go Above $300,000 Mark

The announcement marks the third consecutive week of proposed FAA fines against flyers behaving badly aboard commercial flights. Collectively, the penalties proposed since Dec. 18, 2020 now exceed $300,000 with the majority of those coming since instituting a “zero tolerance” policy for disruptive activities onboard commercial aircraft.

jimmydigits May 20, 2021

There's a pandemic of stupid in this country.

GoProf May 20, 2021

Such people should be banned from flying for at least a year. I agree that behavior such as this should be a criminal matter not just fines.

Berniecfc May 19, 2021

You have to wonder how bright some people really are. Before you board a flight you are told a mask must be worn at all times unless you are eating or drinking. If you are unhappy about wearing a mask, then don't fly. Quite simple really.

SamirD May 19, 2021

And I don't think these fines will stop aggressive behavior. On my last 2 flights just yesterday, the FAs had to deal with pax purposely not in their proper seats on a full flight, causing unnecessary friction between FAs and pax when the pax knew where they should be sitting. In my last few flights it seems this has happened several times, once to me as someone was trying to take my seat in J. The other problem these pax cause is they negate any sanitizing that was done on the seat as it would now be full of the pax germs. This was pretty annoying in J as I barely made my connection and the pax had already 'settled-in' to my seat. >:|.

polinka May 19, 2021

Why isn't this a law enforcement matter on the criminal side and immediate Do Not Fly on the airlines side? I don't think allowing the FFA to fine passengers for $50K is really the way to go. Who is going to enforce it? How does it effect the criminal prosecution, if at all?