Federal authorities are not kidding about their zero-tolerance policy against unruly passengers on commercial flights. Yesterday, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced its two largest fines against individual passengers ever. The exact amounts of the two fines are $81,950 and $77,272. So far this year, the FAA has ordered $2 million in fines.
The $81,950 fine was given to a passenger on a July 7th, 2021 American Airlines flight from Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas, to Charlotte, North Carolina. According to the FAA, the passenger fell into the aircraft’s aisle and threatened the flight attendant who offered to help her. She pushed the attendant out of the way and tried to open the cabin door. Even after two flight attendants restrained her, she “spit at, headbutted, bit and tried to kick the crew and other passengers.”
The $77,272 fine was levied against a passenger on a July 16, 2021 Delta Air Lines flight from Las Vegas to Atlanta. This passenger tried to “kiss and hug” another passenger seated beside her. Then, she left her seat and attempted to leave the aircraft in the middle of the flight. Like on the American Airlines flight, the passenger had to be physically restrained.
Besides biting, both incidents involved passengers attempting to open the aircraft cabin doors. You would be glad to know that it’s physically impossible for a passenger to open the doors. During flights, the cabin doors are locked within the cockpit. The relatively heavy doors are also basically pinned shut at cruising altitude by the difference in air pressure between the cabin and the outside.
If you’re on a flight and someone starts smashing a window, then stop that passenger immediately by any means necessary. The windows are probably the weakest point of an airliner that a passenger could compromise on their own. But, you didn’t hear that from me.