Responding to a spate of poor behavior on commercial flights, the Federal Aviation Administration has issued a warning: behave now or huge fines and possible jail time with no warnings or negotiations.
New FAA No Tolerance Flight Policy For Disruptive Airline Passengers
Noting a “disturbing increase in incidents where airline passengers have disrupted flights with threatening or violent behavior,” the FAA has warned that unruly passengers will face harsh fines, potential jail time, and no chance for warning letters or negotiated settlements. Federal Aviation Administration Chief Steve Dickson signed the order on Wednesday.
Historically, the FAA has responded to unruly passengers by counseling them not to do it again (slap on the wrist) or levying a minor fine. Starting immediately, passengers who “interfere with, physically assault, or threaten to physically assault aircraft crew or anyone else on an aircraft” will face a fine of up to $35,000 and up to 20 years of imprisonment. That includes refusing to wear a mask.
Unruly behavior doesn’t fly! You could be subject to up to $35K in fines or up to 20 years imprisonment for threatening or assaulting a crew member. https://t.co/R6ZunIDuy8 #FlySmart #Travel #airlines
— The FAA ✈️ (@FAANews) January 13, 2021
The harsher penalties will last through at least March 30, 2021 (though I think they should be indefinite…). Recent incidents have included:
- Trump Supporters Flout Mask Policy On United Airlines
- Spirit Airlines Flight Attendant Argues With Passenger Over American Flag Face Covering
- Spirit Airlines Passenger Attacks Mother Of Two After Her Children Kick Seat
- Woman Shot With Stun Gun During Nasty Brawl On Spirit Airlines
- A Sad New Job Description For Flight Attendants
- AA Pilot Threatens To Dump Maskless Passengers In Middle Of Kansas
- Alaska Airlines Bans 14 Passengers After Rowdy Flight From Washington, DC
Sara Nelson, President of the Association of Flight Attendants, applauded the new move but urged the federal government to go even further in placing passengers who engage in such behavior on a “No Fly” list. President Donald Trump condemned lawless behavior from the Oval Office yesterday, but did not specifically mention the new FAA policy.
Frankly, it is about time the FAA stepped in to back airlines and particularly flight attendants, who have been forced into the frontline of dealing with ill-mannered passengers. The message is simple: treat others with respect or stay out of the air. It will truly be a blessing if I no longer have to write about selfish, ignorant fools creating disturbances on commercial flights.