FAA Wants to Fine Passenger $82K

Another would have to pay $77K after both are accused of biting people on flights
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 8, 2022 5:30 PM CDT
FAA Wants Record Fines for Passengers Who Bit
American Airlines planes sit at Miami International Airport gates in November.   (AP Photo/Marta Lavandier)

Two airline passengers accused of biting people on their flights are facing the highest fines ever imposed for bad behavior by the FAA. The agency is seeking a penalty of almost $82,000 against a woman it says fought crew members and other passengers on an American Airlines flight last July and more than $77,000 from a woman it said had to be restrained on a Delta Air Lines flight the same month, per the Hill. "It's one thing to be grumpy on a flight. … It's another thing to endanger flight crews and to endanger fellow passengers; we have no tolerance for that,” Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said Friday on ABC's The View.

After the American passenger fell into the aisle, she's accused of threatening a flight attendant who offered to help her. She tried to open a cabin door after shoving the crew member aside, the FAA says, then repeatedly struck a flight attendant on the head who was trying to restrain her. After being put in flex cuffs, "she spit at, headbutted, bit and tried to kick the crew and other passengers," the FAA says. The passenger was arrested when the plane landed in Charlotte, per NPR. The Delta passenger was restrained by crew members after trying to embrace one passenger, bit another, and wouldn't go back to her seat, the FAA says. The accused passengers have 30 days to answer the FAA.

The agency received more reports of unruly passengers in 2021 than ever. Since launching a zero-tolerance campaign last year, the FAA has announced fines totaling $3.6 million, per CNN. Airlines have asked the federal government to create a no-fly list for passengers convicted of assaulting crew members, and Democratic lawmakers introduced a bill to do that this week. The flight attendants union endorsed the proposed FAA fines and the legislation. "If you're on an airplane," Buttigieg said, "don't be a jerk." (More unruly passenger stories.)

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