The Federal Aviation Administration announced nine passengers were hit with fines totaling $119,000.
The debate over the efficacy of masks, and and the questions over whether requiring masks violates Americans’ rights, has been a point of debate since the pandemic began last year.
One of the most contentious places for that debate has been airlines. Several videos have gone viral showing passengers being taken off planes for refusing to wear masks, as the airlines require.
“Today’s cases propose civil penalties against nine passengers ranging from $7,500 to $21,500 for allegedly interfering with flight attendants who instructed passengers to obey cabin crew instructions and various federal regulations,” the FAA said. “The cases involve assaulting the flight crew and other passengers, drinking alcohol brought aboard the plane and refusing to wear facemasks.”
According to the federal oversight agency for airlines, thousands of Americans have been disgruntled, unruly and pushed back against requirements to wear the mask.
“Since Jan. 1, 2021, the FAA has received approximately 3,271 reports of unruly behavior by passengers, including about 2,475 reports of passengers refusing to comply with the federal facemask mandate,” the FAA said. “We have identified potential violations in 540 cases and have initiated enforcement action in 83 cases. During the same timeframe, the FAA has proposed more than $682,000 in fines against unruly passengers, including today’s cases.”
The FAA released information about all nine passengers Wednesday laying out the cases.
The agency also issued a warning to the rest of the country, which likely will have more than a few opponents.
“The FAA is strictly enforcing a zero-tolerance policy toward passengers who cause disturbances on flights, fail to obey flight crew instructions in violation of the FAA’s regulations, or engage in conduct proscribed by federal law,” the FAA said.