FAA seeks $27,500 from passenger it says hit Delta flight attendant

A passenger who allegedly hit a Delta flight attendant after an argument over wearing a face mask could soon be $27,500 poorer. The Federal Aviation Administration said Friday it is proposing the financial penalty against a person who became combative after they and a companion were asked to leave a Delta Air Lines flight in October. (Dreamstime.com/TNS/file)

Credit: TNS

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A passenger who allegedly hit a Delta flight attendant after an argument over wearing a face mask could soon be $27,500 poorer. The Federal Aviation Administration said Friday it is proposing the financial penalty against a person who became combative after they and a companion were asked to leave a Delta Air Lines flight in October. (Dreamstime.com/TNS/file)

Credit: TNS

WASHINGTON — Federal officials are seeking a $27,500 civil penalty against an airline passenger who allegedly struck a flight attendant who asked the woman and her companion to leave the plane after a dispute about wearing a face mask.

The confrontation on board a Delta Air Lines flight departing from Miami International Airport for Atlanta began when the passenger’s companion refused to wear a mask, secure his tray table or fasten his seat belt, the Federal Aviation Administration said Friday. Delta, like most airlines, requires most passengers to wear masks except when eating or drinking.

Pilots returned the plane to the gate, and the two were asked to disembark. The female passenger began yelling at the flight attendant and other passengers, then hit the flight attendant under her left eye, according to the FAA.

The FAA did not identify the passengers. The woman has 30 days to respond to the proposed penalty. The FAA said it appears that she violated a federal regulation against assaulting a crew member, which carries a civil penalty of up to $35,000.

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The FAA announced tighter enforcement of rules against disturbances on planes after several rowdy incidents in early January on flights to and from Washington.