Unruly Passengers Get $161K Penalties, Alcohol-Related Incidents Still at a High Rate

Alcohol-related incidents not only endanger people on board, but also cause serious delays 7 photos
Photo: Boeing
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Some airplane passengers seem to enjoy the flight a bit too much, causing havoc in alcohol-related incidents. Despite the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)’s Zero Tolerance campaign, there’s still a high rate for this type of incidents across the U.S. The most recently reported events led FAA to issue civil penalties worth more than $160,000 against eight passengers.
Unruly passengers are a common issue onboard commercial airliners, but things get really bad when security needs to get involved. Although passengers are prohibited by law to consume any alcohol, other than what is served by flight attendants, some of them still manage to sneak in alcoholic drinks or even board the plane already intoxicated. According to the institution, it has received almost 300 reports related to alcohol disturbances since the beginning of this year.

Out of the most recent civil penalties issued by FAA, the biggest one, adding up to $40,823, was filed against a passenger who not only consumed alcohol but also smoked marijuana and assaulted the flight attendant on a flight from San Jose to San Diego, California. The second-largest penalty, of $24,000, was issued against a person who was already intoxicated when the airplane took off and then proceeded to yell at the other passengers and the flight attendant, threatening their security.

In addition to disturbing the other people on board, and potentially causing harm to the flight attendants, all of these cases are very serious because they cause significant delays. For example, one of these flights arrived 45 minutes late to the destination because of the incident. Also, most of these flights had to at least divert to various locations, where law enforcement could safely remove the unruly passengers.

Most of the alcohol-related incidents reported to the FAA lead to civil penalties, but passengers can also face criminal fines and jail time, under federal law, if they go even further and “interfere with the performance of a crewmember’s duties,” endangering everyone on board.
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Editor's note: Images shown in the gallery are for illustration purposes only.

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About the author: Otilia Drăgan
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Otilia believes that if it’s eco, green, or groundbreaking, people should know about it (especially if it's got wheels or wings). Working in online media for over five years, she's gained a deeper perspective on how people everywhere can inspire each other.
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