FAA Fines 34 More Passengers for Unruly Behavior, Over $1M Issued This Year

The Federal Aviation Administration announced on Thursday fines against 34 more passengers for unruly behavior on flights.

The agency proposed another $531,545 in civil penalties to the 34 passengers, resulting in a total of over $1 million in fines issued for this year.

Among the new fines announced in a FAA press release:

- $45,000 was levied at a JetBlue Airways passenger on May 24 on a flight from New York to Florida "for allegedly throwing objects, including his carry-on luggage, at other passengers; refusing to stay seated; lying on the floor in the aisle, refusing to get up, and then grabbing a flight attendant by the ankles and putting his head up her skirt." The passenger was restrained as the plane made an emergency landing in Richmond, Virginia.

- $32,500 was levied at a Southwest Airlines passenger on January 2 traveling from Florida to Missouri "for allegedly assaulting passengers around him because someone in his row would not change seats to accommodate his travel partner. He told his travel partner he would need to bail him out of jail for the physically violent crimes he threatened to commit. The captain returned the flight to the gate where law enforcement met the passenger. Southwest banned him from flying with the carrier in the future." The FAA noted that it does not put passengers on no-fly lists.

- $25,500 was levied at a Frontier Airlines passenger flying from Florida to Rhode Island "for allegedly repeatedly kicking the aircraft bulkhead; screaming obscenities at the passenger next to her; locking herself in the lavatory for 30 minutes; yelling obscenities at the flight attendant after they informed her through the lavatory door that the captain turned the fastened seatbelt sign on and she must return to her seat; throwing corn nuts at passengers and shoving both her middle fingers in the flight attendant's face when they instructed her to stop throwing the nuts. The passenger was issued a 'red card' notice, and in response, she again put both her middle fingers in the flight attendant's face. Law enforcement removed her from the flight upon arrival."

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

FAA Fines 34 Passengers Over $500,000
The Federal Aviation Administration fined 34 passengers for unruly behavior, making this year's total in fines as more than $1 million. In this photo, JetBlue Airways Airbus A320-232 takes off from Los Angeles international Airport on January 13, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. AaronP/Bauer-Griffin/Getty Images

Alcohol is a common factor. American Airlines on Thursday extended its ban on alcohol sales in the main cabin through Jan. 18, matching federal mask mandates on flights. American sells alcohol in business and first class.

The FAA did not identify the passengers. They have 30 days to respond to the allegations.

Airline unions are pushing for more criminal charges. This month, the head of the FAA Administrator asked airport officials around the country to work with local law enforcement to prosecute more cases. The FAA does not have the authority to file criminal charges.

FAA Fines 34 Passengers Over $500,000
In this Feb. 18, 2021 file photo, a passenger wears a face mask to help prevent the spread of the new coronavirus as he waits for a Delta Airlines flight at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta. Federal officials are seeking fines against 34 more airline passengers accused of unruly behavior, bringing the total of such penalties to more than $1 million this year. The Federal Aviation Administration said Thursday, Aug. 19, 2021 that the latest fines — which people can challenge — are part of its crackdown against incidents on planes, most of them involving passengers who refuse to wear face masks. Charlie Riedel/Associated Press