The FAA wants to fine a passenger $45,000 for throwing luggage and putting his head up a flight attendant's skirt

·3 min read
flight attendant
Mehmet Ali Ozcan/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
  • The FAA has announced $531,545 in civil penalties against unruly passengers.

  • One passenger was fined $45,000 for throwing luggage and sticking his head up an attendant's skirt.

  • The latest penalties bring the total for 2021 to more than $1 million, with four months remaining.

  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Shortly after departure from New York on May 24, a JetBlue passenger was accused of throwing his carry-on luggage, lying down in the aisle and refusing to get up, and grabbing a flight attendant by the ankles and sticking his head up her skirt.

After the crew restrained him with zip-ties, the plane made an emergency landing in Richmond, Virginia, where he was removed.

He may be fined $45,000, according to the latest announcement of proposed civil penalties released today from the Federal Aviation Administration.

Read more: A drone CEO says the FAA could finally clear the way for drone deliveries to your front door in the next 12 months

The JetBlue passenger was just one of 34 against whom the FAA proposed fines against on Thursday for a total of $531,545, bringing the total for 2021 to more than $1 million.

The FAA report is a litany of the antisocial behavior that flight crews across the US have been tasked with managing during an already difficult year.

Another JetBlue passenger on a cross-country flight was accused of refusing to comply with the mask mandate, assaulting passengers, and snorting "what appeared to be cocaine from a plastic bag" before the flight was diverted to Minneapolis, where he was removed by law enforcement. He received a $42,000 fine.

While the vast majority of incidents were with male passengers, some women behaved badly too. One woman was accused of intentionally bumping into a seated passenger, then punching that passenger in the face when they protested.

Another woman was accused of throwing corn nuts at passengers and crew and shoving her middle fingers in the faces of crew members who asked her to stop.

Several passengers received $13,000 fines for incidents that included their refusal to stop drinking alcohol that the airline did not serve them.

On an Alaskan Airlines flight, one man was alleged to have harassed the crew and "acted as though his hand was a gun and made a 'pew-pew' noise as if he was shooting a fellow passenger." He was kicked off the flight and received a $10,000 fine.

Interfering with aircraft crew is against Federal law, as is physically assaulting or threatening assault crew or anyone else on an aircraft. Penalties can include fines and prison time if a person is found guilty. Passengers have 30 days to respond after the agency notifies them of an enforcement decision.

The FAA said it had received nearly 4,000 reports of unruly behavior by passengers, including nearly 3,000 passengers refusing to wear a mask properly.

Flight attendants from several major US carriers previously told Insider's Allana Akhtar that they'd experienced increased levels of aggression from passengers this year. Others report having been punched, groped, spat at, and verbally abused by passengers for doing their jobs.

If you are a flight crewmember or airline passenger who would like to share your experience with Insider, please email Dominick Reuter.

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