Passenger Fined $52,500 — Largest Fine this Year

An airline passenger who tried to open the cockpit door and hit a flight attendant in the face multiple times has been fined $52,500, the highest fine this year. The Delta passenger incidents occurred on a flight from Honolulu to Seattle and is one of several the agency said it will be fining under its zero-tolerance policy.

As passengers take to the skies as the COVID pandemic recedes, FAA is increasing fines to try and quell the incidence of unruly passengers. Reports of more than 1.8 million people being screened by the Transportation Security Administration is the most since pre-pandemic days, when almost 2 million were screened just before travel was nearly shut down. Statistics show the number of airline passengers was down 61% in 2020.

The FAA reported the passenger refused to comply with crew members’ instructions, threatened the flight attendant and got out of the plastic cuffs used inflight.

While statutes only permit a top fine of $35,000, multiple offenses can result in a higher penalty, according to the FAA.