Fake hijacking, crying flight attendant, masks: Here are latest hefty fines from FAA

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Several airline passengers are facing thousands of dollars in fines from the Federal Aviation Administration for refusing to wear face masks and disrupting flights, the agency said Tuesday.

The fines range from $7,500 to $21,500, bringing the amount of proposed fines brought by the FAA against unruly passenger since the beginning of the year to $682,000.

“The cases involve assaulting the flight crew and other passengers, drinking alcohol brought aboard the plane and refusing to wear face masks,” the agency said in a news release Tuesday.

Here’s a look at some of this round’s proposed fines.

Loud music, punching a passenger

Two passengers on a Republic Airlines flight from Indianapolis to Philadelphia on Feb. 19 are accused of blatantly disregarding instructions from flight attendants to put on a face mask while boarding and “playing loud, obscene music.”

The FAA said one passenger was told during safety announcements and cabin check to put on her mask. She’s also accused of threatening a passenger in front of her when the person closed the window shade as the plane was taxiing.

“A flight attendant again instructed the party to settle down and wear their face masks, but they did not comply,” the agency said. “They continued to play loud, obscene music and use obscene language against the flight attendants and other passengers.”

The crew eventually informed the captain, who turned the plane around and called for law enforcement to meet them at the gate.

The FAA said the passenger then argued with the captain about her removal and, as she stood up to leave, “punched the female passenger who was seated in front of her, holding a small infant, in the back of the head.”

She now faces an $18,500 fine.

A second person in the same group accused of refusing to wear a mask, playing music and talking loudly during the safety announcements was hit with a proposed fine of $10,000, the FAA said.

Making a flight attendant cry

A man flying from Utah to Arizona on Feb. 27 with Allegiant Air faces a $10,500 fine after the FAA said he kept moving his face mask under his nose.

“When told that he needed to cooperate and provide information to fill out a passenger disturbance report, he argued with the flight attendant, refused to provide his identification, said he would continue to pull his face mask down, and claimed that it was fine just over his mouth,” the FAA said.

After the plane landed, the agency said the man went up to a flight attendant as she was preparing to open the cabin door and touched her, getting “very close to her” while he complained about the airline’s mask policy.

“This behavior intimidated the flight attendant and caused her to cry,” the FAA said.

Fake hijacking

On a Jan. 23 Alaska Airlines flight from Seattle to Alaska, the FAA said a man called 911 claiming the plane had been hijacked as they were preparing to leave the gate.

He said someone was holding the flight attendant at knife point and “repeatedly asked the dispatcher to stop the flight,” according to the agency.

The same man reportedly tried to use the bathroom twice while the plane was taxiing on the runway, prompting flight attendants to intervene. The plane then diverted to a cargo ramp to meet law enforcement following the 911 calls.

As law enforcement came on board with rifles and evacuated everyone, the FAA said the man also called the FBI to report a bomb threat.

The flight was delayed for multiple hours while the plane was screened for a bomb and law enforcement questioned the passengers and crew. The man now faces a $10,500 fine, the FAA said.

Vaping mid-flight

A passenger traveling to Punta Gorda, Florida, from Syracuse, New York, on Dec. 19 unbuckled his seat belt mid-flight during what the FAA described as “a period of moderate turbulence.” He then tried to go to the bathroom.

“When flight attendants told him it was unsafe to do so, he argued that he was drinking at the airport for five hours prior to the flight,” the agency said.

He was ultimately allowed to use the bathroom but “nearly fell on the flight attendants three times” while returning to his seat.

According to the FAA, he wasn’t wearing a mask and started vaping once he got back to his seat.

“Throughout the rest of the flight he continued to vape, not wear his face mask, and get out of his seat,” the agency said. “The captain called for law enforcement to meet the passenger at the gate.”

He faces a $10,500 fine.

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