Four airline passengers who refused to wear masks whilst on board an aircraft could face fines up to $15,000 as part of an effort to tackle what the FAA calls “unruly and dangerous behaviour.”
The Federal Aviation Authority has revealed that they have received 2,800 reports of unruly passenger behavior since the start of the year, with around three-quarters of these involving a passenger refusing to comply with the federal mask rules. The proposed fines come on the back of a recent FAA announcement that banned in-flight alcohol in an attempt to ease in-flight tensions.
The steepest of the fines comes in at $15,500 and involves a passenger who boarded a JetBlue plane on February 5th to fly between Florida and Las Vegas.
The man ignored at least 10 requests made by flight attendants for him to wear the mask so that it covered his nose and mouth. He also drank miniature bottles of alcohol that had not been served on the flight, a clear violation of the current FAA rules according to the agency. The other proposed fines ranging from $7,500 to $10,500 were brought forward against 3 other passengers.
On another JetBlue flight a lady became “disruptive” after being asked by a flight attendant to wear her mask. On a Southwest flight the same happened with a passenger refusing to wear a mask and another passenger on an Alaskan flight is alleged to have used an e-cigarette in the restroom and refused to wear a mask in the cabin.
Any passenger who received a proposed penalty for unruly behavior will have 30 days to respond. Within these 30 days the passenger can either pay the fine in full, provide appropriate documentation and request a lower penalty, provide documentation showing they a finically unable to pay, provide information to prove that the violation did not occur, ask to meet with the FAA to discuss the case, or appeal the Judge’s decision to the FAA administrator. Any passenger who fails to pay within the 30 day time period will receive a Final Notice of Proposed Civil Penalty from the FAA.