Passengers were fined more than $1.45 million in 2021.
It has been a distressing year for flight attendants who have faced verbal and physical attacks by violent passengers. However, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is pulling no punches when it comes to disruptive passengers. Early in 2021, the FAA made it clear that those who refuse to wear masks or threaten and intimidate the crew will face fines and possibly jail time (the FAA cannot prosecute criminal cases, but they refer the cases to federal prosecutors). As of December 21, 2021, there have been 5,779 reports of unruly behavior, 4,156 mask-related incidents, and 1,054 investigations.
Since the zero-tolerance policy came into effect in January 2021, the FAA has levied heavy fines (up to $37,000 per violation) on passengers who interfere with the crew on flights and behave abominably. More than $1.45 million in civil penalties have been proposed by the FAA till November and the number may be higher still.
Here’s a list of the worst offenders slapped with thousands of dollars of fines for sexually assaulting, punching, kicking, and verbally abusing the crew, interfering with their duties under the influence of alcohol, and refusing to comply with the federal mask mandate.