Unruly people on board aircraft
Despite the threat of tens of thousands of dollars of fines, groups of passengers acting erratically during flights, according to the FAA.
The latest FAA data was 7.1 reported incidents per 10,000 flights ending the week of September 26. Earlier in September, incidents of unruly passengers occurred about six times every 10,000 flights, down to 50% by early 2021, according to the FAA.
To date, there have been 4,626 reports of undisciplined passengers from flight crews, of which 3,366 incidents have involved masks.
According to the FAA, 849 investigations have been opened and some 177 enforcement cases have been initiated.
The FAA adopted a zero-tolerance policy earlier this year after seeing an alarming rise in incidents where airline passengers disrupted flights because of threatening or aggressive behaviour.
These incidents stem from passengers refusing to wear masks, and the most recent violent incidents have occurred in the US Congress.
According to a January 13 order signed by FAA administrator Steve Dickson, unruly passengers no longer receive warnings. Instead, the agency has introduced a stricter enforcement policy. Penalties could include hefty fines and imprisonment for passengers who attack or threaten airline crews or other passengers.
Under the FAA reauthorisation bill, the agency could offer up to $37,000 per violation as retribution. However, according to the agency, a single reported incident could lead to multiple violations.
However, its threat has still not deterred some passengers. In fact, in August, the FAA paid another $531,545 in civil penalties to 34 more airline passengers. So far for 2021 alone, the agency has paid more than $1 million in levies.
In response to the increased incidents in 2021, the FAA this month sent a letter to airports urging them to coordinate more closely with local law enforcement agencies to prosecute the cases.
It should be noted that the FAA can impose fines on passengers, but not fees.