Delta passenger faces $27,500 fine for hitting flight attendant in face mask dispute with fellow passenger

  • The unnamed passenger had been traveling on Flight 1997 from Miami to Atlanta on October 19.
  • Their neighboring passenger refused to follow instructions and the flight returned to the gate.
  • Both were asked to leave the plane and a flight attendant was struck in the argument that followed.
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A Delta Air Lines passenger is facing a $27,500 fine for hitting a flight attendant, according to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

The unnamed passenger traveled on a flight from Miami to Atlanta on October 19 and was sitting next to a passenger who refused to wear his mask, secure his tray table, or fasten his seatbelt.

As a result, Flight 1997 was forced to return to the gate and both the unruly passenger and their neighbor were asked to leave the plane. 

However, the FAA said: “In response, the passenger accompanying the non-compliant traveler ignored the flight attendant’s instructions, began yelling expletives at the flight attendant and other passengers, and struck the flight attendant under her left eye.”

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In January, the FAA announced a stricter unruly passenger policy after dealing with over 1,300 cases in the past 10 years, including recent, violent refusals to wear face masks.

Now, passengers who interfere with, attack, or threaten to physically assault aircraft crew or anyone else on an aircraft now face fines of up to $35,000 as well as potential imprisonment.

In a statement at the time, Delta said: “There is nothing more important than the safety of our people and customers.

“That’s why two customers who did not comply with crew safety instructions were asked to deplane Flight 1997 this evening.

“We do not tolerate violence of any kind and this situation is currently under investigation.”

The passenger facing the $27,500 fine now has 30 days to respond to the FAA’s enforcement letter.

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