‘Punches, trash and stolen cookies’: FAA hits Austin passenger with big fine for bad behavior

Austin-Bergstrom International Airport tower (KXAN Photo/Todd Bynum)

Austin-Bergstrom International Airport tower (KXAN Photo/Todd Bynum)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Federal Aviation Administration released a list of fines for unruly behavior on flights by passengers, and the biggest fine was doled out to someone flying out of Austin-Bergstrom International Airport.

The FAA said Wednesday it fined a woman $32,000 during a Horizon Air flight from Austin to San Francisco on May 18. The agency’s report said the woman didn’t follow crew instructions to put her seat belt on, and “punched and screamed at her husband and son, repeatedly, diverting flight attendants from their duties.”

The agency’s report also said the woman “threw trash at a flight attendant and snatched cookies from a nearby passenger.”

A passenger on an American Airlines flight from Forth Worth to Aspen, Colo., was fined $23,000 for “verbally abusing flight attendants after she realized her assigned seat wouldn’t recline.” The report also said the woman didn’t wear a face covering and hit a flight attendant.

In total, the agency announced more than $225,000 in fines against 10 airline passengers for unruly behavior, ranging from $32,000 down to $9,000.

The agency said since it enacted a “Zero Tolerance” policy on unruly behavior on commercial flights, instances have sharply declined, but even so, it said “the rate remains too high.”

In August, KXAN investigative reporter Matt Grant took a look at unruly behavior on flights, what is causing it and how airlines and the federal government are trying to curb bad behavior. Most major airlines have gone as far as banning people from flying with them in the future after they don’t comply with regulations.

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