Eight airline passengers are facing fines of more than $160,000 for violating alcohol and face mask rules on planes – including a personal fine of more than $40,000.
why it matters: According to the latest figures, there have been more than 5,000 undocumented passenger reports this year – including about 3,800 mask-related incidents. Federal Aviation Administration, which proposed the latest fine.
- “Since January 1, 2021, the FAA has received approximately 300 reports of passenger disturbances due to alcohol and intoxication,” per an agency statement Monday.
big picture: The FAA and the Justice Department established an information-sharing protocol in August for referring unruly passenger cases to the FBI for review.
- The FAA said the rate of uncontrolled passenger incidents on commercial flights has fallen since introducing its “zero tolerance” policy in January, “but the rate remains very high.”
- The agency said the eight passengers it did not identify were given a total civil penalty of $161,823, although they have 30 days to pay the fine. All cases are related to alcohol.
description: According to the FAA’s statement Monday, the largest fine, $40,823, was for a passenger who the FAA says illegally brought and consumed his own alcohol on an April Southwest Airlines flight.
- The FAA alleges that when a passenger was asked to stop drinking “the passenger then sexually assaulted a flight attendant” before going to the bathroom to drink cannabis.
- The passenger was arrested for resisting arrest and public intoxication when the plane landed in San Diego, the FAA said. It was not immediately clear why the passenger was not charged with assault, but the FAA does not have the authority to file criminal charges.
- Other passengers face fines ranging from $8,250 to $24,000. All but one of those cases also involved resistance to compliance with face mask requirements.