Woman faces $32,750 fine for not wearing mask (and throwing a fit) on a plane

One woman’s stringent opposition to wearing a mask on a plane could end up costing her a bundle.

The Federal Aviation Administration has proposed fining an unnamed JetBlue passenger $32,750 after she refused to wear a mask on a Feb. 7 flight from the Dominican Republic to New York. She also allegedly threw food and an empty bottle of alcohol into the air while screaming obscenities at the crew and grabbing the arm of one flight attendant.

The passenger’s disturbance caused the plane to be turned around. The FAA reported that she also twice struck the arm of another flight attendant, scratched his hand, and consumed alcohol that had not been served to her by the cabin crew.

Another man, who was a passenger on a Jan. 26 Southwest Airlines flight, is facing $16,500 in charges. He allegedly refused to wear a mask over his mouth and nose and used “offensive” language with the crew. He was removed from the flight before takeoff, but not without incident.

“As the passenger walked with his luggage toward the exit door, he called each of the two flight attendants ‘pathetic,’ and hit one of the flight attendants with his bags,” the FAA said in a statement.

Two other cases resulted in $9,000 fines. One of them—a Jan. 30 Alaska Airlines flight from Bozeman, Mont., to Seattle—involved mask-policy violations. In the other, a woman on a Dec. 22 Delta Air Lines flight from Minneapolis to Philadelphia got up and refused to return to her seat.

The FAA has been keeping a close eye on mask enforcement policies, especially after President Joe Biden directed it and other agencies to take action enforcing compliance with public health guidelines in a Jan. 21 executive order. “The FAA is strictly enforcing a zero-tolerance policy toward passengers who cause disturbances on flights or fail to obey flight crew instructions,” the government agency said.

Airlines are joining them in the hard-line approach. United, last June, said it would ban passengers who refuse to wear face masks. Delta has reportedly already banned nearly 1,000 passengers for face-mask violations.

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