Unruly passengers aboard commercial flights are making the skies anything but friendly, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.
In its effort to curb what it has described as a dramatic increase in unruly or dangerous behavior aboard passenger airplanes, the FAA released a public service announcement Tuesday with a simple message: “Unruly behavior doesn’t fly.”
The 33-second video depicts pilots speaking over airwaves to relay messages like “We’ve got a disruptive customer in the back,” “We’d like to divert” and “We need to get off the airplane.” Shouts and sounds of commotion are heard while ominous music plays.
The FAA posted the video Tuesday on Twitter, along with statistics about unruly passengers this year.
There have been 3,988 reports of unruly behavior, 2,928 of them about passengers’ refusing to wear masks, said the tweet, which said 693 investigations have been initiated this year, as well as 132 cases with penalties.
Te FAA gets 100 to 150 formal cases of bad passenger behavior in a typical year.
The FAA recently reported that 34 passengers accused of unruly behavior on planes face more than $500,000 in fines, bringing the total amount of proposed civil penalties to more than $1 million this year.
As of last week, 22 of the 34 new cases involved passengers who did not follow the mask mandate the Transportation Security Administration extended in January, according to the FAA.
Some of the most extreme incidents were those like that involving a passenger on a JetBlue flight from New York to Orlando, Florida, on May 24 who was accused of throwing objects at other passengers, refusing to stay seated and lying on the aisle floor, according to the FAA. The passenger, who was fined $45,000, was also accused of grabbing a flight attendant by her ankles and putting his head up her skirt, which forced the pilot to make an emergency landing in Richmond, Virginia.
Another incident, on a JetBlue flight from New York to San Francisco on May 16, involved a passenger who was accused of snorting what appeared to be cocaine, which crew members confiscated, the FAA said.
The wild behavior has sometimes led flight crews or passengers to duct-tape passengers to seats to restrain them.
Passengers on a Frontier Airlines flight from Philadelphia to Miami this month taped a man to his seat after he groped two flight attendants and got into a physical fight with another, authorities said.
And last month, flight attendants taped a woman to her seat aboard an American Airlines flight from Dallas-Fort Worth to Charlotte, North Carolina, after she tried to open the plane door mid-flight.
Apparently in response to duct-taping incidents, John Slater, senior vice president of inflight services for United Airlines, told employees in a memo this month to seek other solutions.
“Please remember that there are designated items onboard that may be used in difficult situations, and alternative measures such as tape should never be used,” Slater’s memo read.