Unruly passenger on Las Vegas-Atlanta flight faces $77,272 fine by FAA

Delta airplanes are seen on the tarmac at Hartsfield Jackson International Airport in Atlanta, Georgia on January 16th, 2022 as a winter storm impacts travel.

Credit: Nathan Posner for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

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Delta airplanes are seen on the tarmac at Hartsfield Jackson International Airport in Atlanta, Georgia on January 16th, 2022 as a winter storm impacts travel.

Credit: Nathan Posner for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

A passenger on a Delta Air Lines flight from Las Vegas to Atlanta faces one of the largest fines ever levied by the Federal Aviation Administration for alleged unruly behavior.

The $77,272 fine is part of beefed up efforts by the FAA to crack down on disruptive passengers. Last year, the FAA adopted a “zero tolerance” policy and has proposed about $2 million in fines against passengers since then.

The FAA alleges the the Delta passenger on a July 16, 2021, flight “attempted to hug and kiss the passenger seated next to her; walked to the front of the aircraft to try to exit during flight; refused to return to her seat; and bit another passenger multiple times.”

“The crew had to physically restrain her,” the FAA added.

The agency also on Friday announced a record $81,950 penalty against an American Airlines passenger who the FAA alleges pushed a flight attendant and tried to open the cabin door. The American passenger also repeatedly hit one of the flight attendants, then headbutted, bit and tried to kick crew and passengers, the FAA said.

Federal law prohibits interfering with crews. Passengers have 30 days to respond to the FAA’s proposed penalties. They can pay the fine, contest the penalty, request a hearing or provide documentation showing hey are financially unable to pay the fine. The FAA does not identify the passengers.

Atlanta-based Delta has asked the U.S. Justice Department to create a national no-fly list of passengers who are convicted for on-board disruptions. Last year, Delta tried to create a national no-fly list of unruly passengers by sharing names on its no-fly list with the FAA and asking other airlines to also share their lists. However, carriers sharing banned traveler lists could raise privacy or antitrust issues.

Earlier this week. U.S. Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I. and U.S. Reps. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif. and Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Pa. introduced legislation to put people convicted of assaulting flight crew on a plane on a commercial no-fly list.

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