WASHINGTON, D.C. (NEXSTAR) – The Federal Aviation Administration is sounding off on unruly passengers.
This week, the FAA issued a public service announcement to highlight the dramatic uptick in in-flight incidents caused by unruly passengers. The public service announcement, released to social media on Monday, contains actual audio from some of those incidents, including radio communications between the planes’ captains and air traffic control operators.
In the clip, a pilot can be heard requesting that law enforcement meet the plane upon landing. In another exchange, an air traffic controller checks with a captain about an apparent struggle in the cabin — one which necessitated the disruptive passenger be restrained.
The communications are punctuated with the sounds of screams and commotion from passengers and flight crew.
“You don’t want your pilots distracted,” reads an on-screen message from the FAA. “Unruly behavior doesn’t fly.”
In its tweet, the FAA also linked followers to its data on disruptive and unruly passengers. As of Aug. 23, the FAA has received 3,988 reports of unruly passengers, including nearly 3,000 mask-related incidents. As a result of those reports, nearly 700 were investigated and 132 have necessitated the initiation of enforcement cases.
Just last week, the FAA detailed some of those cases, proposing yet another round of hefty fines against 34 more passengers. One, who threw luggage across the cabin and “put his head” up a flight attendant’s skirt, was hit with a proposed fine of $45,000.
Passengers who receive such penalty notices from the FAA can pay the fine, request a hearing and appeal, or ask to meet with the FAA, among other options.
The FAA has so far fined passengers over $1,000,000, collectively, since enacting its zero-tolerance policy in January. At the time, the FAA described a “disturbing increase” in disruptive behavior, specifically noting a “proliferation” of such conduct “following the January 6, 2021 violence at the U.S. Capitol,” according to an order signed by FAA Chief Steve Dickson.