Flight attendants have become 'punching bags' over mask rules and some are being assaulted by passengers, a union said. Authorities fined one passenger $52,000 for multiple violations.
- Passengers have to wear masks on flights - but some are refusing to comply.
FAAhas received about 1,900 reports of "unruly" passenger behavior related to masks since January 1.
- A union leader said attendants had become "punching bags for the public."
More than a year into the pandemic, some Americans are still refusing to follow mask rules on public transit, leading to an uptick in "unruly behavior" on flights including verbal and physical abuse, according to the
Steve Dickson, administrator of the FAA, said at a virtual town hall that the organization had received about 2,500 reports of unruly passenger behavior since January 1 - of which around 1,900 were related to passengers refusing to wear masks.
"We've never seen numbers like this before," Dickson said at the town hall on May 26, first reported by The New York Times.
Sara Nelson, president of the Association of
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention changed its mask mandate guidance on May 13 and said that fully vaccinated Americans didn't have to wear masks indoors - but the new guidance doesn't apply to public transit, because the rules there are set by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). The
The FAA also extended its "zero-tolerance policy" in March, meaning that people who assault, threaten, or otherwise interfere with cabin crew members, can be fined or even given jail time.
During the town hall, Dickson said that in mid-May, the FAA had issued its largest fine ever imposed on a single individual, who was fined more than $52,000 for multiple violations including physically assaulting a flight attendant.
Nelson said that the problem stemmed from passengers "taking safety precautions as a political decision rather than a public-health necessity."
Nicholas Calio, CEO of trade body Airlines for America, said that the incidents of unruly behavior and people refusing to wear masks increasingly came from groups of travelers, rather than individuals.
"I've been appalled at the unruly and dangerous behavior that we've seen in recent months on commercial aircrafts," Dickson said.
Nelson said that some flight attendants were "punching bags for the public." She added that some had been seriously injured, and that some had quit the profession over safety concerns.
Nelson had previously said that these incidents of unruly passengers were becoming both more frequent and more severe. She said that some flight attendants had been assaulted, pushed, and choked, and that there had been instances of passengers spitting or urinating, Insider's Tim Levin reported.
This comes as the number of Americans flying is surging.
Nearly 1.96 million people passed through US airport controls on Friday, the Transport Safety Administration (TSA) said - just a quarter less than the same day in 2019. This is the most passengers recorded in a single day since the start of the pandemic.
And across the three-day Memorial Day weekend, the TSA said it had screened more than 5 million passengers.
People aren't just returning to the skies. Uber and Lyft said that demand for ride-hailing apps is surging as people return to
- 'Quiet quitting' is a bad idea, experts say. Here are 6 things you can do instead to get the same results if you're looking for better work-life balance – or to lighten your workload
- This pioneering regional OTT has turned profitable in 5 years – here’s how
- A man's cancer vanished after he was injected with a weakened herpes virus in a promising clinical trial
- Fresh threats to Mukesh Ambani and family, Reliance Foundation hospital
- Will consider Kerala govt proposal for World Peace Conference: Nobel Peace Centre
- Seven dead, several others feared missing following flash floods in West Bengal's Jalpaiguri district
- OPEC+ to cut oil output by 2 million bpd from November
- India Inc's foreign commercial borrowings rise by 4.6% in August
- Tata Tiago Electric Car
- HCL Tech
- World Heart Day 2022
- Apple Tablets in Amazon Sale
- RBI Repo Rate
- Akash Ambani
- Amazon festival Sale
- Upcoming new Mobile in October
- Amazon Festival Sale
- Best Companies for Work
- India's Richest People
- RBI Interest Rate hike
- Upcoming Smartphone in 2022
- Top 10 Colleges in India
- Top 10 Airlines in World