The Federal Aviation Administration has announced it will be extending its zero-tolerance towards rowdy passengers and passengers who disobey flight instructors, and indicated it will be following through on the policy by suggesting fines in the tens of thousands for passengers who refused to wear masks on flights.
A female passenger on a JetBlue flight from Boston to Puerto Rico on Dec. 27 who refused to wear a mask or stay seated is facing a fine of up to $20,000.
The passenger screamed insults and punched a flight attendant who asked her to remain seated and obey instructions, Fox 5 reported.
A male passenger on a another JetBlue Airlines flight, this time from New York to the Dominican Republic, is facing a $12,500 fine for drinking alcohol in the bathroom and refusing to a wear a mask.
The passengers have 30 days to respond to the FAA’s enforcement letters. They are two of the more than 500 cases reported of unruly passengers who refused to wear masks, disobeying instruction from flight attendants and pleas from other passengers.
“The number of cases we’re seeing is still far too high, and it tells us urgent action continues to be required,” FAA Administrator Stephen Dickson said.
The FAA is investigating 450 of these cases and have opened formal enforcement cases into at least five of them. Passengers can face hefty fines and even jail time if they are found responsible.