Did you know that interfering with uniformed crew members aboard a commercial airline is a felony and serious jail time could result? The Federal Aviation Administration has a zero-tolerance policy for such behavior and recent offenders have been hit with fines in excess of $30,000.
Aviation analyst Jay Ratliff reports that airlines average 150 incidents each year. Passengers act up during a flight because, perhaps, they've had too much to drink. Ratliff says most on-board incidents involve alcohol. More recently though travelers have taken issue with airline mask policies which flight attendants are required to police. Ratliff says some disruptions have been over items as trivial as trash being collected.
Ratliff's report states that so far in 2021 airlines have reported more than 1,300 cases of passengers creating disturbances on flights and 4,000 passengers have been placed on the no-fly list.
Remember when you were little and were riding in the car with your family? You may have, on occasion, heard your Mom or Dad say "Settle down or, I swear, I will turn this car around!". Well, if a pilot has to do that because you are causing a ruckus, the airline could demand you reimburse them for the diverted flight, which could cost you $20,000. And it gets worse!
As mentioned disruptive passengers face possible felony charges, fines and jail time. Ratliff says you could also end up in court being sued by fellow passengers because your actions and the resulting flight delays caused them to miss a meeting or event. Plus, and this one could hurt the most, you could be banned by the airline for life and blacklisted by the FAA from ever flying on a U.S. airline.
Ratliff would like to see the fines continue and even be expanded to passengers who delay emergency evacuations by stopping to collect their larger carry-on bags from the overhead compartment. Such a selfish act defies flight attendant instructions and endangers lives.
Remember, too, that your griping about your COVID mask or fussing about somebody else's lack of a mask, or you crabbing about the fact the drink cart is fresh out of the tiny bottles of top-shelf gin you were counting on will all be captured on cell phones by nearly every other passenger and shared on social media around the world. And that stuff will haunt you forever.