Passenger fined after refusing to wear mask, then punching Southwest worker, FAA says

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A fine has been issued four months after officials said a man punched a Southwest Airlines worker as he was being kicked off his flight over a face mask.

The man, whom the Federal Aviation Administration did not name, was fined $21,000 following the alleged assault at a Dallas airport.

The FAA said the man refused to wear his face mask before and after boarding the Southwest plane on Feb. 22. The flight was from Dallas to Albuquerque.

Flight attendants and the captain repeatedly told the man he needed to wear a mask. He put a bandanna over his face, but kept removing it, according to the FAA. He also allegedly removed a sealed mask given to him by a Southwest supervisor.

The captain returned the plane from the runway back to the gate to escort the passenger off the flight, the FAA said.

“A customer service supervisor boarded the aircraft for a second time to escort him off,” according to the FAA. “The passenger threw the mask at the supervisor, hit him in his jaw, and still refused to wear the mask while exiting the aircraft.”

The man was detained and issued a citation for assault, federal officials said.

Federal law requires everyone 2-years-old and older to wear a mask at all during their flight.

He was one of eight passengers the FAA announced fines for Tuesday due to their “unruly and dangerous behavior” on flights. In total, the FAA has proposed $563,800 in fines against “unruly passengers” in 2021.

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