A young woman caught on camera arguing with flight attendants on a Delta Air Lines flight after allegedly refusing to wear a mask and spitting on passengers joins almost 3300 disruptive passengers reported to US authorities so far this year.
The reports received from January 1 by the US Federal Aviation Administration and reported January 6 included 2475 reports of disruptive passengers refusing to follow rules that masks need to be worn on planes.
The FAA says it has identified potential violations in 540 cases and taken action in 83, with proposed fines topping a hefty $US682,000.
In the latest case to hit the headlines, a 23-year-old passenger has been charged with resisting an officer, trespassing and interference with aircraft operations after she was removed from a July 7 flight in Fort Myers, Florida.
Local TV station WWSB was told by police the woman was disruptive as the plane sat at the gate, refusing to wear a mask, arguing with flight attendants and spitting at other passengers.
She refused to leave when police arrived to escort her off the plane and was restrained and handcuffed.
In an attempt to shame disruptive passengers into behaving on flights, the FAA has launched a public service announcement in which young children talk about how adults should act when traveling.
It has also taken a zero-tolerance approach which has seen it propose fines of more than $US50,000 for offenders.
Cases announced last week by the FAA included proposed fines of:
- $US21,500 against a passenger on a Dec. 27, 2020, Frontier Airlines flight who allegedly drank alcohol not served by the airline and who refused to wear a mask. The FAA alleges the passenger began fighting with the flight attendant and nearby passengers about the facemask policy. The flight attendant issued the passenger a “red card” for failing to comply with the face mask instructions, but he continued to argue with nearby passengers, striking the passenger next to him on the head.
- $US18,500 against a passenger on a Feb. 19, 2021, Republic Airlines flight who allegedly refused to wear a mask during the pre-flight safety check, played loud and obscene music and used obscene language against flight attendants and other passengers. She also punched a passenger in front of her who was holding a infant.
- $US17,000 against a passenger on a Jan. 25, 2021, Frontier Airlines flight who allegedly refused to wear his facemask during boarding and continued to use his phone during the safety demonstration During the final descent, the passenger ignored crew instructions and unbuckled his seatbelt, stood up, and moved to a different seat closer to the front of the aircraft.
- $US13,000 against a passenger on a Jan. 29, 2021, Frontier Airlines flight who allegedly repeatedly removed her face mask, ignored crew instructions to wear it properly and drank alcohol not supplied by the airline.
- $US10,500 against a passenger on a Feb. 27, 2021, Allegiant Air flight who allegedly passenger refused to wear his facemask over his mouth and nose throughout the flight.
- $US10,500 against a passenger on a Jan. 23, 2021, Alaska Airlines flight who allegedly made a 911 call reporting the aircraft was being hijacked.