We’ve all heard the stories about airlines overreacting to passenger “malfeasance.” Earlier this month, a Colorado family was booted off a Southwest Airlines flight over fears their 3-year-old son wouldn’t wear his mask.
Sometimes, the punitive actions taken by airline crews seems warranted. When three women attacked Spirit Airlines employees in 2020 over a delayed flight, they were not only escorted off the plane but were arrested and charged with assault.
But a new story focusing on airline crime and punishment has frequent flyers pondering the question of where the line should be drawn. CBS News reports that a passenger on a Dec. 23 Delta flight who tried to open the cockpit door and hit a flight attendant in the face twice is facing the year’s largest fine from the Federal Aviation Administration: $52,500.
The passenger is one of four to received hefty fines from the Federal Aviation Administration. The FAA has proposed more than $100,000 in fines against four “unruly” plane passengers, according to UPI, which explains:
- A second passenger faces a $27,000 fine after claiming he had a bomb and planned to blow up the plane during a Southwest Airlines flight from Phoenix to Chicago.
- The FAA sought an $18,500 penalty against a passenger on a Feb. 5 flight from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., to Las Vegas who drank several small bottles of alcohol he brought with him on the plane and refusing [sic] to wear his mask, defying instructions from flight attendants.
- Finally, A woman incurred a $9,000 fine after she refused to follow instructions to wear her mask properly on a flight from Fort Lauderdale to Knoxville, Tenn. on Feb. 15. The woman also allegedly screamed at a flight attendant after she was told she could not sit in an exit row as she waited to use a bathroom while it was occupied.
Presumably, the flight attendant who was struck in the face (and who incidentally was a male) has a clear-cut lawsuit against the passengers for assault, if he cares to pursue it. And most people would agree that a passenger who tries to breach the cockpit needs some time in a small room with bars to reflect on his actions. But $52,000? It sounds a tad excessive.