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Passenger’s boozing, mask refusal, bad behavior on flight could cost him $14,500


A JetBlue passenger’s boozing, refusal to wear a mask and other obnoxious behavior on a flight late last year could end up costing him $14,500.

That’s the fine being proposed by the Federal Aviation Administration against the man who allegedly refused to wear a mask and kept drinking the alcohol he’d brought on board, the agency said Friday.

The pilot turned around the Dec. 23 flight destined for the Dominican Republic and returned to John F. Kennedy International Airport, the FAA said.

The passenger, who was not identified, has 30 days to respond to the enforcement letter, the agency said.

JetBlue’s policy — which matches federal law — requires passengers to wear face coverings because of the Covid-19 pandemic, and FAA regulations bar passengers from drinking alcohol that they bring on board.

The passenger allegedly refused warnings to comply with both rules.

He “crowded the traveler sitting next to him” and spoke loudly while refusing to wear a mask, which resulted in him being moved to another seat, the FAA said.

The FAA earlier this year announced it would take a harder line on unruly passengers, citing what it called a disturbing increase in violent and disruptive behavior over masks.

The agency on Jan. 13 said it would no longer deal with badly behaving passengers with warnings or counseling and would take legal action against anyone assaulting, threatening, intimidating or interfering with airline crew.

In late February, the FAA announced it was proposing a $27,500 fine for a passenger who punched a flight attendant after that passenger and the man they were with were asked to get off a plane in Miami. That incident began after the man refused to wear a mask, buckle his seat belt or raise his tray, the agency said.

Airlines have required passengers to wear masks since last year in the wake of the pandemic.

President Joe Biden on the day after his inauguration signed an executive order to require masks on airplanes and at airports, and the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention then required that masks be worn on public transportation.



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