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FAA Wants Fines of $160K From 8 Airline Passengers

All of the disruptions involved alcohol
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 22, 2021 4:58 PM CST
FAA Wants Fines of $160K From 8 Airline Passengers
Passengers exit an American Airlines flight that took off from Miami, at the Jose Marti International Airport in Havana, Cuba, Monday, Nov. 15, 2021. After 20 months of strict quarantine rules due to the COVID-19 pandemic that included limiting foreign travel to the island, Cuba today reopens to the...   (AP Photo/Ismael Francisco)

(Newser) – Federal officials said Monday they are seeking more than $160,000 in fines from eight airline passengers over incidents involving alcohol. The Federal Aviation Administration said the biggest single proposed fine, topping $40,000, involves a passenger who brought alcohol on the plane and drank it, smoked marijuana in the lavatory, and sexually assaulted a flight attendant on a Southwest Airlines jet in April. Police arrested the passenger after the plane from San Jose, California, landed in San Diego, and charged the person with resisting arrest and public intoxication, according to the FAA. It was not clear why the passenger was not charged with assault, the AP reports. The FAA does not have authority to file criminal charges.

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The FAA did not identify any of the eight passengers, who face a combined $161,823 in civil penalties, though they have the right to contest the allegations. In some cases, airline crews diverted flights to land more quickly because of the passengers' erratic behavior. The proposed fines represent the latest step in the FAA's attempt to crack down on unruly passengers on planes, a problem that became much more common starting in January. Airlines have reported more than 5,000 incidents involving unruly passengers to the FAA this year. Most of them involved passengers refusing to follow the federal requirement for passengers to wear face masks while on planes, but nearly 300 involved intoxicated passengers, the FAA reports.

(Read more FAA stories.)

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