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FAA proposes $19,000 fine for unruly passenger on Phoenix flight

Two passengers wearing face coverings wait for a flight at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport on Tuesday, April 14, 2020, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

PHOENIX – A passenger on a flight out of Phoenix is among eight fliers facing thousands of dollars in fines over unruly behavior while traveling earlier this year, authorities said Tuesday.

The Federal Aviation Administration proposed a $19,000 civil penalty for a passenger on a Jan. 20 SkyWest Airlines flight from Phoenix to Hermosillo, Mexico, who allegedly became angry after learning the plane had to return to Sky Harbor Airport because of bad weather south of the border.

The individual, whose name was not provided, allegedly hit the plane’s ceiling and intimidated flight attendants, who felt compelled to recruit several passengers to be ready to subdue the person if it became necessary, the FAA said in a press release.

The person also allegedly hit a neighboring passenger’s shoulder while standing up to exit before law enforcement escorted him off the plane.

The eight fines announced by the FAA on Tuesday ranged from $9,000 to $22,000 and totaled $124,500 for incidents in January and February.

The subjects are accused of a variety of violations, including assaulting flight crew, drinking alcohol carried aboard and refusing to wear face masks.

The FAA said it has now proposed $563,800 in fines against passengers since adopting a zero-tolerance policy for dangerous behavior on Jan. 1.

The agency said it has received 3,100 reports of airline passengers causing disturbances in that time, including 2,350 incidents of individuals refusing to comply with federal face mask mandates.

Face coverings are still required aboard public transportation, including planes, buses and trains, as well as inside airports and stations.

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