The FAA is charging fines of up to $15,000 for air travelers accused of failing to wear masks and assaulting flight attendants

  • The FAA proposed fines up to $15,000 for 5 airline passengers accused of assaulting flight attendants.
  • The agency said it has received 2,500 reports of unruly behavior by passengers since January 2021.
  • Flight attendants recently told Insider the pandemic has made passengers more aggressive.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The Federal Aviation Administration proposed fines of up to $15,000 for five airline passengers accused of interfering with and assaulting flight attendants.

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The FAA announced passengers on JetBlue, Alaska Airlines, and Southwest Airlines engaged in aggressive behavior, including hitting, yelling, and shoving, with flight attendants.

One passenger fined $15,000 shoved a flight attendant when the worker had walked down the aisle to document which passengers were not wearing face masks, the FAA said in a release. Another passenger who was fined $10,500 yelled and shouted profanities at a flight attendant after they asked him to put on a face mask.

The agency said it has received 2,500 reports of unruly behavior by passengers since January 2021. About 1,900 of the reports deal with passengers who refused to comply with the federal facemask mandate.

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Flight attendants recently told Insider the pandemic has made passengers more aggressive and less patient due in part to enforcing mask requirements on board.

President Joe Biden signed an executive order on January 21 making face masks mandatory on airlines. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently said both vaccinated and unvaccinated people must keep masks on in airports and on public transportation.

Read more: The auto industry didn’t see the chip crisis coming – and now it’s threatening a recovery from the pandemic

Passengers who receive a proposed penalty for unruly behavior have 30 days to respond, a FAA spokesperson told Insider.

Within the 30 days, the spokesperson said passengers can pay the full penalty, provide documentation and request a lower penalty, provide documentation showing they are financially unable to pay the fine, provide information indicating 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.

If passengers do not respond within 30 days, the FAA sends a Final Notice of Proposed Civil Penalty.

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