FAA Administrator Steve Dickson says people who disrupt flights will pay a heavy price after a series of incidents aboard aircraft leaving Washington on Thursday and Friday. “The FAA will pursue strong enforcement action against anyone who endangers the safety of a flight, with penalties ranging from monetary fines to jail time,” Dickson said in a statement. Fines for the bad behavior can be as high as $35,000. Various airlines reported passengers refusing to wear masks, making threats toward other passengers and generally disrupting things, according to an NBC report. An American captain calmed things down by threatening to “put this plane down and dump people off in the middle of Kansas.” Alaskan Airlines banned 14 passengers from future flights after the long trip from Washington to Seattle on Thursday, apologizing to the other pax for what they endured.
Meanwhile, the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee has urged the TSA and the FBI to add those who participated in the violence at the Capitol last Wednesday be added to the no-fly list. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., said that flights to Washington on Tuesday provided foreshadowing of the events to follow and on Thursday he implored the law enforcement authorities to act. “Alleged perpetrators of a domestic terrorist attack who have been identified by the FBI should be held accountable,” he said.
All of the flights and their passengers and crew made it to their destinations safely but the president of the U.S. Association of Flight Attendants said the “mob mentality” that some of her members had to deal with is not what they signed on for. “It will not happen again,” she said. “There’s a reason that there are strict penalties and fines for failing to comply with crew member instructions. Enforcement keeps everyone safe.”