One passenger called in fake hijacking and bomb threats and another punched a woman who was carrying a baby, the FAA said in a news release.
The proposed fines against nine passengers totaled $119,000, and many centered around passenger opposition to mask-wearing.
Despite the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's relaxed guidance around mask-wearing, the federal face mask requirement for airplanes, airports, trains, commuter rail systems and other modes of transportation remains in effect through Sept. 13. It's also against FAA regulations for passengers to drink their own booze.
The FAA has proposed more than $682,000 in fines against unruly passengers since Jan. 1 as the agency seeks to enforce a "zero-tolerance policy" for dangerous behavior by passengers.
Since the beginning of the year, the FAA has received 3,271 reports of unruly behavior by passengers, including about 2,475 reports of passengers refusing to comply with the federal transportation mask mandate.
The latest round of proposed fines ranges from $7,500 to $21,500. Here's what the FAA says happened in each instance and how much it could cost the passengers involved:
- $21,500 proposed fine: On a Dec. 27, 2020, Frontier Airlines flight from Nashville, Tennessee, to Orlando, Florida, a passenger allegedly drank his own alcohol and refused to wear a face mask. The passenger got into a fight with the flight attendant and passengers about the mask policy and struck the passenger next to him on the head, the FAA says.
- $18,500 and $10,000 proposed fines: On a Feb. 19 Republic Airlines flight from Indianapolis to Philadelphia, flight attendants repeatedly told two women to wear their face masks properly, the FAA says. They and others they were traveling with allegedly were playing loud, obscene music and refused to wear masks. During taxi from the gate, the woman who faces an $18,500 fine threatened the passenger in front of her when they closed the window shade and continued to ignore crew instructions. The crew notified the captain, and the plane returned to the gate for law enforcement to meet them. As she stood up to leave the plane, she allegedly punched the woman in front of her, who was holding a baby, in the back of the head. Another woman in the group, who faces a $10,000 fine, reportedly refused to buckle her seat belt and wear her mask. When the captain advised that she and her party would be removed from the plane, she argued and used obscene language, the FAA says.
- $17,000 proposed fine: On a Jan. 25 Frontier Airlines flight from St. Louis to Las Vegas, a man refused to wear his mask after repeated instructions to do so, the FAA says, noting that he also stood up and moved to a different seat during the descent despite flight crew instructions.
- $13,000 proposed fine: On a Jan. 29 Frontier Airlines flight from San Diego to Las Vegas, a woman repeatedly removed her mask and drank her own alcohol, the FAA says.
- $10,500 proposed fine: On a Feb. 27 Allegiant Air flight from Provo, Utah, to Mesa, Arizona, a man refused to wear his mask over his mouth and nose throughout the flight despite seven separate times flight attendants asked him to wear it properly, the FAA says. After the plane landed, he allegedly approached a flight attendant from behind as she prepared to open the cabin door and touched her, though he said she was being aggressive about the mask policy and he just got very close to her while complaining about it.
- $10,500 proposed fine: On a Jan. 23 Alaska Airlines flight from Seattle to Ketchikan, Alaska, as the flight was about to leave the gate, a passenger made a 911 call reporting that the plane was being hijacked by a man with a knife, the FAA says. Due to the 911 calls, the pilots taxied to a cargo ramp for law enforcement to meet the flight and evacuate passengers and crew. While at the cargo ramp, the passenger reportedly called the FBI and made mention of a bomb. The plane was temporarily taken out of service for bomb screening, and law enforcement also screened all passengers and crew and found the passenger’s claims to be fake.
- $10,500 proposed fine: On a Dec. 19, 2020, Allegiant Air flight from Syracuse, New York, to Punta Gorda, Florida, a man reportedly got out of his seat to use the lavatory during turbulence when the fasten-seat belt sign was on and argued with flight attendants. He was reminded to wear a mask several times, the FAA says, and began vaping despite flight attendants telling him to stop. The captain called for law enforcement to meet the passenger at the gate.
- $7,500 proposed fine: On a Feb. 25 Southwest Airlines flight from Denver to Los Angeles, flight attendants instructed a passenger twice to wear his mask properly, and he moved it below his nose and mouth both times, the FAA says. A Southwest Airlines customer service supervisor boarded the plane to speak with him, but he still wouldn't wear his mask properly. The airline deplaned the flight, and the man was not allowed to reboard.