FAA Wants Violent Passenger Fined $52,500


The FAA is proposing the highest civil penalty it has so far recommended under its current crackdown on passenger behavior, $52,500, be levied against a man who belted a Delta flight attendant in two separate altercations on one flight. The passenger got things rolling on the flight from Honolulu to Seattle last December by trying to open the cockpit door. When the flight attendant tried to stop him, he got a fist in the face. Cabin crew and passengers managed to subdue the passenger and put zip tie restraints on him. The violent passenger wasn’t finished yet, however.

He managed to get one hand out of the zip ties and went after the flight attendant again, punching him in the face second time. Presumably he was subdued again and police met the plane in Seattle to take him to jail. The incident was the agency’s lead item in a list of badly behaving passengers who are facing fines of $9,000, $18,000 and $27,500. The FAA says there has been a major uptick in bad behavior on airliners since late last year and there have been more than 1,300 reports of unruly passengers since Feb. 1. About 20 cases have resulted in the FAA recommending fines and other sanctions.

Russ Niles
Russ Niles is Editor-in-Chief of AVweb. He has been a pilot for 30 years and joined AVweb 22 years ago. He and his wife Marni live in southern British Columbia where they also operate a small winery.

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  1. We’ve all seen the videos. On my next flight, I’ll survey the passengers carefully when I board, and if I don’t like what I see, I’m getting off. The last thing we need is a brawl at FL40.

  2. Where is all this anger coming from? Unbelievable. If you can’t control yourself, stay home. Hopefully there is jail time given out too. That should be sobering.

  3. None of this behavior is surprising or shocking. Over the last year and a half the population of the world has been pushed to the precipice on every level and we’ve had enough. Is the behavior appropriate or acceptable? Absolutely not. Is it somewhat understandable? Yup. If he’s like the majority of the population that has had enough of their liberties stolen and trampled on, he’s done with mandates and overreaching power. There’s no logic to any of it. My guess – his mask happened to slip down off his nose and the mask nazi (flight attendant) was on him like flies on you know what. No one even tries to be nice about it on either side. People have had enough on every level. There is no logic to being yelled at for not standing 6 feet apart in line to get on an airplane only to be squashed shoulder to shoulder on a flight with no beverage or snack service, while having to listen to them threaten you to never be able to fly on their airline in the future if you don’t keep your mouth and nose covered…. unless eating or drinking food they certainly “can’t” give you – all under the guise of “safety” due to covid. We’re done. Stories like this in aviation and outside of aviation are only going to escalate as more and more people slip over the edge. The mental health of our world is spiraling to a scary place, covid mandates and overreaching power are the reason.

    • User,
      You’re absolutely right. Folks are starting to push back after being forced into absurd restraints just for the sake of doing “something”… and it’s often wrong. There’s certainly an argument to accept some risk but preserve our freedoms. We are certainly on a down hill slide.
      However, can’t justify bad behavior that will affect or hurt others. I’d throw the SOB out the window.

    • Lighten up Francis (AVweb User). Nice tangent, although you forgot to hit the caps lock key.

    • Yes, the public health mask rule totally justifies storming the cockpit and attacking cabin staff.

      All part of the crybaby culture. Too many Americans are snowflake weenies.

      If you don’t like the rules don’t fly. #Duh.

        • At least the “mask wearing snowflakes” aren’t endangering the safety of the flight by punching flight attendants and trying to storm the cockpit.

          • Obviously I’m not advocating that.

            I’m against masks and against hysteria and in no way pro-draconian measures but if you pay to play in someone else’s sandbox you observe their rules.

            This is self evident.

        • ‘Many people view it the opposite. It’s the snowflakes that are wearing the mask.’

          And some need their own delusion to accept themselves for their own approval. The conviction of their own chimera suffices.
          “Everything has its limit – iron ore cannot be educated into gold.” M.Twain

          ‘I’m against masks and against hysteria…’ Post the event of Jan. 6, I hope your healing is going well.

    • The passenger endangered everyone else on that aircraft – TWICE!

      My unsympathetic view: If you don’t want to wear a mask (correctly)? Are Drunk? Just Pissed? Or High ? Just upset??? Feel ‘trampled on’ by the big bad gov? Don’t like the headlines today? Grow up. Don’t fly. Don’t ride on a train. Don’t drive. Don’t keep ANY weapons anywhere you can get at ’em.
      Stay home. Stay in your hole.

      But, don’t blame everyone else for your problems.

  4. Airlines are now buses that service large cities. Take a look at who are on the buses in large cities to understand just how impossible it is to enforce decorum and aviation specific rules on that level of humanity.

    Just like a bus, anyone with means that can afford a private alternative, does.

  5. This has been happening long before covid and mask mandates. Most of the time it’s related to alcohol. Toss them in prison and when they come out ban them from flying.

  6. A fraction of the population are what I refer to as instant a$$holes. Just add alcohol.

  7. I am glad to hear the FAA is aggressively enforcing the safety rules. It’s ironic that this passenger was travelling to Seattle, home of the Capital Hill Occupied Protest zone. The same city where the city leaders are teaching their angry citizens that if they don’t get what they want, they only need to occupy city property (kind of like a flight deck), get out of jail on bail to return to the protest (like escaping handcuffs) and attack those who are oppressing them (like a flight attendant telling you to follow the rules).

  8. Has anyone noticed the civil breakdown leading to ongoing riots, arson, vandalism, theft, etc. all being ignored by local, state and national authorities? Few if any get prosecuted or have to pay for the damage, or get criminal records. This is teaching a substantial demographic of the public that outlaw behavior is fine and won’t be punished. This is clearly spilling over into the travel industry, who incite it by adopting Nazi-like rules just because they can.

    • You’re right on point, Steve. All the sheeple “who think for themselves:)” are not going to get it, though. The kids who got participation ribbons have grown up into, well, not adults.