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The 8 airline passengers on the FAA’s latest list of worst behavior

Eight airline passengers face fines of up to $40,000 each in the latest round of civil penalties by the Federal Aviation Administration.

The stiffest fine was for a passenger on an April flight out of San Jose; a lesser one was proposed for a passenger out of San Francisco.

In the proposed penalties announced Monday, the agency said all eight instances allegedly involved alcohol. It said it has been urging airports to work to prevent passengers from bringing their own alcohol on planes.

Six of the cases also involved refusal to wear facemasks.

The eight cases:

• $40,823; April 15, 2021, Southwest Airlines, San Jose to San Diego. Allegation: Passenger drank their own alcohol during the flight, in defiance of flight attendant’s warning. Passenger sexually assaulted the flight attendant. As the flight was descending, passenger smoked marijuana in the lavatory. Arrested on suspicion of resisting arrest and public intoxication.

• $34,250; March 14, 2021, American Airlines, Dallas/Fort Worth to Burbank, Calif. Allegation: Passenger refused multiple times throughout the flight to put on his facemask, including while contending he was “drinking” from an empty glass. He ordered a second alcoholic beverage, threw it on the floor and stomped on it, then ordered another. When another passenger told him he’d had enough to drink, he began yelling profanities. Law enforcement met the passenger at the arrival gate.

• $24,000; March 31, 2021, Delta Air Lines, Fort Myers, Fla., to Detroit. Allegation: A passenger who appeared intoxicated repeatedly took off his facemask in defiance of attendants’ warnings. He swore at other passengers and accused them of stealing his property. When he was asked to desist, he yelled, “This is America. This is free speech. What don’t you understand?” He was reseated in the last row next to a crew member, but he continued to threaten people, and the flight was diverted to Atlanta, where law enforcement removed the man.

• $17,000; April 16, 2021, JetBlue Airlines, New York City to Guayaquil, Ecuador. Allegation: The passenger drank alcohol he had brought on board, refused to wear a facemask, verbally abused the flight crew and urinated on the lavatory floor. The flight was diverted to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., so he could be removed.

• $16,000; Jan. 24, 2021, Delta Air Lines, San Francisco to Atlanta. Allegation: Passenger drink alcohol she had brought on board, in defiance of flight attendant’s warning. She then pulled down her mask and leaned close to the flight attendant, then began recording the confrontation on her phone. The flight was diverted to Las Vegas so she could be removed.

• $12,500; no date given, Southwest Airlines, Dallas to Fort Lauderdale. Allegation: Passenger had to be asked multiple times to wear a mask. He started to drink alcohol he had brought on board, and when a flight attendant confiscated it, he went into the lavatory and made himself another drink with his own alcohol. The passenger was escorted off the aircraft by law enforcement upon landing in Florida.

• $9,000; Feb. 3, 2021, United Airlines, Chicago to Windsor Locks, Conn. Allegation: Passenger yelled and used vulgar language upon hearing no alcoholic beverages were available, and also repeatedly pulled down his facemask throughout the flight. He interfered with flight attendants by recording them on his phone. He was escorted off the plane by law enforcement officers.

• $8,250; May 14, 2021, Allegiant Air, Grand Rapids, Mich., to Punta Gorda, Fla. Allegation: The passenger and three companions ordered Bloody Mary mix and began making drinks with a bottle of vodka he had brought aboard, in defiance of a flight attendant’s warning. On a second warning, the crew member asked for the bottle; the passenger responded with a vulgarity, then became “loud, argumentative and rude.” When he was handed a notice concerning violation of FAA regulations, he crumpled it up and threw it, called the crew member a vulgar name and flipped her off.

The passengers have 30 days after receiving the FAA’s enforcement letter to respond to the proposed penalties.

The FAA involves the FBI and Department of Justice in cases where it believes criminal prosecution is appropriate.

The aviation agency said earlier this month that it had referred to the Justice Department only the 37 “most egregious” of this year’s more than 5,000  complaints about passengers.

Monday’s round of penalties were from the first half of this year and did not address some more recent cases that made headlines, including a man who broke a flight attendant’s nose on a flight last month from New York to Orange County.


Source: Orange County Register

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