Passenger on flight to Phoenix area fined $10,500 for unruly behavior
PHOENIX – Federal authorities said they levied a $10,500 fine against a passenger who allegedly refused to wear a face mask over his nose and brought a flight attendant to tears during a flight to the Phoenix area earlier this year.
The Federal Aviation Administration on Tuesday released details of the case and eight others from December to February involving unruly passengers that resulted in civil penalties totaling $119,000.
The Arizona-bound incident occurred Feb. 27 on an Allegiant Air flight from Provo, Utah, to Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport.
Flight attendants told the man seven times his face mask had cover his mouth and nose, as required under federal travel regulations, but he repeatedly pulled it down to expose his nose, according to the FAA.
He also allegedly refused to provide information for a passenger disturbance report and argued with a flight attendant.
After the plane landed, he allegedly engaged in intimidating behavior that caused the flight attendant to cry. The FAA said in a press release he came up behind her and touched her while she prepared to open the cabin door and then got “very close to her while complaining about her enforcement of the policy.”
In January, the FAA adopted a zero-tolerance policy against passengers who cause disturbances on flights.
The agency said it has received more than 3,200 complaints since the beginning of the year, with more than 2,400 involving failure to follow mask mandates.
The FAA said it has initiated enforcement action in 83 cases and proposed more than $682,000 in fines.
Once notified of the penalty, subjects get 30 days to respond. The FAA doesn’t release their identities.
The nine fines announced Tuesday ranged from $7,500 to $21,500.
Last month, the FAA proposed a $19,000 civil penalty for an unruly passenger on a Jan. 20 SkyWest Airlines flight from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport to Hermosillo, Mexico. He allegedly became angry after learning the plane had to return to Phoenix because of bad weather south of the border.
The individual 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.
The man also allegedly hit a neighboring passenger’s shoulder while standing up to exit before law enforcement escorted him off the plane.