FAA Bringing Its Largest Fines Ever Against Plane Passengers Accused of Biting, Kicking Crew

by Megan Molseed
Getty Images

Two airplane passengers who displayed violent outbursts on a recent flight are now facing record fines. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has handed down its largest fine to date. This comes after plane passengers are accused of kicking and biting other passengers as well as crewmembers. These massive fines are the latest move by the FAA as it fines passengers to prevent future events such as these.

At A Glance

  • Two airplane passengers who assaulted crew members and fellow passengers are facing record-breaking federal crimes
  • The FAA says the two separate fines are far higher than any other fines they have handed down in the past
  • Crew members had to restrain the passengers as a result of the outbursts

Record Federal Fines Are In Store For Two Airline Passengers After Assaulting Crew Members and Passengers

The two passengers are looking at record-breaking FAA fines totaling as high as $160,000; for hitting and biting fellow airline passengers and crew members. The fines are $81,950 and $77,272, individually.

The passenger facing who is facing the nearly $82,000 fine is facing the pushback after assaulting a flight attendant. The incident occurred last July aboard an American Airlines flight. The passenger repeatedly hit the crewmember on the head during the altercation after attempting to open the aircraft door.

“After the passenger was restrained in flex cuffs, she spit at, headbutted, bit and tried to kick the crew and other passengers,” notes an FAA statement.

“Law enforcement apprehended her in Charlotte,” the statement continues. American Airlines adds that passenger now has a ban from flying on the airline.

“We applaud our crew for their professionalism,” the statement adds. “And quick effort to protect those on board.”

The passenger who is facing the $77,000 fine was attempting to “hug and kiss” the passenger next to them during a Delta flight. The unruly passenger then was attempting to exit the airplane during the flight; refusing to return to their seat. During this incident, last July, the passenger was biting another passenger several times before the crew was able to restrain them.

FAA Is Holding the Passengers Responsible For the Attacks

“We are thrilled that the FAA and Dept of Transportation are making fines match the crime,” notes Association of Professional Flight Attendants spokesman Paul Hartshorn.

“We have to have accountability for people who are doing this,” he adds.

“If you’re on an airplane, don’t be a jerk,” notes Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg during a discussion on The View.

“Also, if you’re not on an airplane, don’t be (a jerk),” Buttigieg quips.

“The bottom line is if you do it on an airplane and you endanger flight crews and fellow passengers,” he explains. “You will be fined by the FAA and you may be referred for criminal prosecution.”

So far in 2022 airplane crews have reported as many as 1,000 violent outbursts on board.