The Federal Aviation Administration has imposed a $9,000 fine on a passenger who refused to wear a face mask on a Southwest Airlines aircraft from Oakland to Houston in February.
The episode was one of over 1,900 reports received this year by the agency of passengers refusing to comply with the statutory regulation to wear masks on flights to lower the risk of spreading the coronavirus.
On Monday, the agency authorized civil fines of up to $15,000 against a total of five passengers for misbehavior. The passengers are accused of interfering with or assaulting flight attendants who told them to follow federal rules.
In the Oakland case, a passenger on a flight from Oakland to Houston on Feb. 20 refused to comply with a flight attendant’s order to lift his mask up to cover his nose. When the attendant provided him a different mask, he flung it on the floor and said that he is not going to wear it.
According to the aviation department, the individual said that Texas would not enforce mask-wearing. Airline passengers, on the other hand, are covered not by state mask regulations, but by a mask mandate on public transportation.
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The FAA also pursuing a $15,000 fine from a passenger who assaulted a flight attendant who was checking for face masks onboard an Alaska Airlines aircraft from Dulles International Airport outside Washington, D.C., to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in January.
The agency also noted a passenger on a JetBlue aircraft from Orlando to New York in March faces a $10,500 fine for refusing to wear a mask, cursing loudly at flight attendants, and refusing to get off the plane.
“The enforcement actions announced today are part of the FAA’s zero-tolerance policy for unruly and dangerous behavior by passengers,” the agency said.
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