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FAA: Told to Mask Up, Passengers Got Physical

Agency issues 4 fines totalling more than $67K
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted May 6, 2021 11:56 AM CDT

(Newser) – Two travelers are facing a combined $50,000 in fines from the FAA, and not just for their lack of masks. Both are accused of assaulting flight attendants who called them out for their rule-breaking, per the Hill. A female passenger told to don a mask on a Feb. 7 JetBlue flight allegedly "grabbed a flight attendant's arm, causing her pain," and "struck the arm of another flight attendant twice and scratched his hand," the FAA says, per CNN. The agency says the woman, facing a $32,750 fine, also threw food and a bottle of alcohol and shouted obscenities. The flight bound for New York had to return to its departure point in the Dominican Republic.

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Less than two weeks earlier, a Southwest flight bound for Sacramento failed to leave the ground in Chicago after a passenger ordered to mask up hit a flight attendant with luggage, per CNN. That passenger faces a $16,500 fine. Four fines totaling $67,250 were issued Wednesday out of 1,300 passenger misconduct reports received since February, per CNN and WZDX. However, the FAA says it's "initiated about 20 enforcement cases and is preparing a number of additional enforcement actions," per Reuters. The agency has seen an increase in complaints about passengers even as the pandemic has reduced the number of people taking to the skies. It now receives several complaints per day, up from one every few days before the pandemic, per CNN. (Read more FAA stories.)

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