FAA fines air passenger record $52K, files charges for disruption during Hawaii to Washington flight
30th October 2021

FAA escalates punishment for disorderly behavior

Travel expert Mark Murphy blames the ‘entirety of the last year’ for passengers’ unruly behavior

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on Friday charged and fined an airplane passenger a record $52,000 for disrupting a flight from Honolulu to Seattle.

A Seattle grand jury indicted Ryan Cajimat, 21, of Hawaii with two federal crimes relating to allegations of his disruptive and violent behavior on a Delta Airlines flight in December of 2020.

A passenger wears a face mask she travels on a Delta Airlines flight Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2021. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

"About two hours before landing in Seattle, Cajimat attempted to open the cockpit door and struggled with flight attendants attempting to restrain him," the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of Washington said in a Friday press release. "One flight attendant was punched in the face twice. Cajimat was restrained for the rest of the flight and was removed from the plane on arrival in Seattle."

FAA SAYS UNRULY PASSENGER RATE STILL TOO HIGH

The 21-year-old is banned from further Delta Airlines travel, as FOX 13 Seattle first reported.

The charges and fines come as the FAA cracks down on unruly passengers since implementing its zero-tolerance policy last January following a "disturbing increase in incidents where airline passengers have disrupted flights with threatening or violent behavior."

People gather outside the Delta Air Lines departures level at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) on August 25, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Mario Tama/Getty Images) (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

As of Saturday, there have been a total of 4,941 unruly passenger incidents in 2021, with 3,580 of them related to masks. For the week ending Sept. 12, there were nearly seven unruly passenger incidents per every 10,000 flights.

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"The rate of unruly passenger incidents has dropped approximately 50 percent since record-highs in early 2021, but there remains more work to do," the FAA's website states.

FOX Business' Lucas Manfredi contributed to this report.

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