The Federal Aviation Authority is calling for hefty fines against four unruly passengers, including two on flights out of Florida.
It comes as the agency reports an alarming rise in the number of cases of unruly passengers, the latest in a growing concern for the airline industry.
The proposed fines range from $7,500 to $15,500.
One of the Florida passengers flew out of Fort Myers, the other was out of Fort Lauderdale.
The FAA says all of the passengers in some way refused to wear their face masks.
In one instance, a female passenger, “...inserted her finger into her nose in response to a flight attendant’s direction to wear her mask. The FAA further alleges she yelled, used profanity and refused to read a warning note that a flight attendant issued to her.”
Her flight was diverted.
Since Jan. 1, the FAA has received approximately 3,000 reports of unruly behavior by passengers. This includes about 2,300 reports of passengers refusing to comply with the federal facemask mandate.
“What we’re seeing on board is really an outcome of the stress of the pandemic,” said Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants. “People have been stretched to their limits.”
As a reminder, the FAA has a zero-tolerance policy in place toward passengers who cause disturbances or fail to follow directions.
The four passengers in question have 30 days to respond to the agency.