Despite several obstacles, airlines strive to make traveling across the nation as easy as possible for their customers, particularly given the substantial expense of flying. But one thing that companies don’t have much control over is how their customers act, which can ruin or even endanger an otherwise calm flight.
Airlines try to solve this problem by making rowdy passengers pay a lot of money for their actions. An unruly customer on an American Airlines aircraft was arrested and forcefully removed from the plane after she became hostile and attacked numerous flight attendants. After the event, a recommended punishment was given that was significantly more expensive than the amount of her ticket.
According to American Airlines, a flight from Dallas, Texas, to Charlotte, North Carolina, was disrupted when a female customer who was out of her seat collapsed. As a flight attendant tried to help her, the customer became enraged.
The airline says that the woman threatened to hurt the flight attendant who helped the customer after she fell into the aisle. After that, the customer shoved the flight attendant aside and attempted to unlock the cabin door. The scene turned violent at this point, and many more flight attendants arrived to assist.
According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), two flight attendants tried to physically detain the passenger but were assaulted by the violent lady. When she was ultimately apprehended, she resumed her savage onslaught on everyone in her path.
After the incident, the FAA suggested a $81,950 punishment—the biggest fine ever imposed by US aviation officials at the time—to compensate for the aircraft being diverted, breaking the peace, and physically hurting crew members and passengers. The fee is part of the FAA’s “zero-tolerance” policy for disruptive passengers.
The proposed charge of about $82,000 comes just a few months after another big penalty for a Delta Air Lines customer. The government fined a passenger $77,272 after they sexually molested one passenger before abusing another.
Delta said in a statement that it has zero tolerance for disorderly conduct at airports and on flights because nothing is more essential than the safety of both customers and employees.
In one year, the FAA kept track of more than 7,000 cases of loud customers on US airlines. Just 80 passengers were reported to the FBI for possible criminal prosecution.
Even though the penalties seem too harsh for what happened, they are reasonable when compared to the cost of rerouting a flight, losing loyal customers, and having to deal with legal action from unhappy customers. If more passengers realize the cost of disrupting a flight, they may strive harder to be on their best behavior.