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FAA fines Austin flyer $32K for allegedly punching family, throwing trash, snatching passenger's cookies

The woman also reported refused to buckle up on the Horizon Air flight to San Francisco.

AUSTIN, Texas — The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has fined a flyer from Austin’s airport $32,000 for a May 18 “unruly behavior” incident on a flight to San Francisco.

According to the FAA, the Horizon Air passenger did not follow crew instruction to fasten her seatbelt.

She allegedly punched and screamed at her husband and son, repeatedly, diverting flight attendants from their duties.

The FAA said the woman also threw trash at a flight attendant and snatched cookies from a nearby passenger.

Since Jan. 1, 2021, the FAA has received more than 100 reports of passenger disturbances involving physical assault. The agency refers cases to the U.S. Department of Justice when evidence supports criminal review.

The FAA said the rate of unruly passenger incidents on commercial flights has dropped sharply since it launched a zero-tolerance campaign, but the rate remains high.

The FAA announced a “zero-tolerance” policy against disruptive behavior on flights back in January. The agency is attempting to levy fines that can top $200,000 against 10 passengers and has identified more than 100 other cases for possible enforcement.

U.S. airlines have banned at least 3,000 passengers since May of last year, and that doesn't include two of the largest, American and Southwest, which declined to provide figures. Airlines have also stripped some customers of frequent-flyer benefits.


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