Not only will airlines turn planes around when passengers break the rules, but the U.S. government is also making it clear that it will punish violators with five-figure fines.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is proposing a $27,500 fine for a passenger who reportedly hit a flight attendant for enforcing safety rules on an October Delta flight from Miami, Florida, to Atlanta, Georgia.
The passenger refused to wear his face mask, secure his seatback tray table, or fasten his seatbelt, prompting the pilot to return to the gate in Miami. The passenger then refused to get off the plane, along with his travel companion, and eventually hit the flight attendant in the face, the FAA said.
The passenger's name has not been disclosed.
While a federal mask mandate to prevent the spread of COVID-19 was not in place at the time, Delta had instituted its own requirements alongside other major carriers. The airline has already placed more than 100 travelers on its no-fly list for violating its COVID-19 rules.
Earlier this year, American Airlines was forced to call police to arrest a woman at Washington, D.C.'s Reagan National Airport for refusing to wear a face mask during the flight and proceeding to go on a tirade about tyranny.
Even with the federal rule requiring face masks for air travel, some passengers continue to rebel. In February, another passenger was picked up at Boston's Logan Airport for allegedly assaulting a flight attendant while the plane was in the air, The Boston Globe reported.
That incident occurred on a Delta flight originating in Atlanta, and is being handled by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) because it occurred in the air.
Meena Thiruvengadam is a Travel Leisure contributor who has visited 50 countries on six continents and 47 U.S. states. She loves historic plaques, wandering new streets and walking on beaches. Find her on Twitter and Instagram.
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