Citing “a disturbing increase in incidents where airline passengers have disrupted flights with threatening or violent behavior,” the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said Wednesday it will ratchet up its legal enforcement policies.
“These incidents have stemmed both from passengers’ refusals to wear masks and from recent violence at the U.S. Capitol, ” the FAA said in a statement.
The FAA says up to now it has been addressing unruly passenger incidents with warnings, counseling, and civil penalties. (Counseling?)
But effective immediately and through at least March 30, 2021, “the agency will pursue legal enforcement action against any passenger who assaults, threatens, intimidates, or interferes with airline crew members.”
That legal enforcement may include fines of up to $35,000 and imprisonment.
There have been some scary incidents onboard planes recently. Including on Friday, January 8, two days after a mob of Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol building, when an American Airlines pilot threatened to put the plane down “in the middle of Kansas” in response to chanting, unruly passengers.