Mask mandates have kicked in weeks ago on all forms of transportation, but not everyone is complying.
In the new masked up normal, airlines in particular have had a rough go of it.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) put in place even stricter penalties and restrictions on its flights after passengers caused major upheaval in early January on flights to Washington, D.C., including heckling Senator Mitt Romney.
But now, a past incident onboard a Delta Airlines flight is making headlines related to a passenger who allegedly hit a Delta airlines stewardess in the face over an argument about wearing a mask.
Now the passenger is looking at a $27,500 fine from the FAA.
What Happened on the Flight?
According to the FAA, the trouble started on a Delta flight from Miami to Atlanta back in October. Even though the incident occurred back then, the fine is only being brought forward now.
But it marks an important step in seeing how federal authorities are going to crack down on people who get too worked up over masks or refuse to wear them.
And the answer looks like: massive fines.
According to the FAA what happened is that a woman on the flight and her male companion were being disrespectful and not listening to the stewardess while the plane was preparing for takeoff.
The man refused to put on a mask or his seatbelt and wouldn’t put his tray in the upright position. That’s three for three there. Sounds like a real rebel.
In any case, the pilot was informed and made the decision not to take off. He returned to the gate and Delta staff ordered the man and woman off the plane for refusing to follow the instructions.
This is when the woman reportedly went berserk, swearing at the stewardess and other passengers and then hitting the flight attendant in the face under her eye.
How about felony assault too?
— Billy Kaputnik (@bkaputnik) February 27, 2021
What Happens Next?
The woman who allegedly struck the flight attendant now has 30 days to respond now that the FAA has issued the official fine.
For its part, Delta is being clear that asking the passengers to leave was fully justified from their perspective, writing at the time of the incident that “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. We apologize to customers for the flight delay this caused.”
According to the FAA, the days of giving warnings about wearing a mask are now over and fines will be directly given. Nonetheless, it’s clear that the fines wouldn’t be as high as $27,500 which relates to a case of actual physical assault and widespread disturbance of an entire flight.
The Bottom Line
The bottom line here is that airplanes are not the place to cause a disturbance or protest. It’s hard to argue that masks are not an infringement on personal liberty, and basic cloth masks have no real proof of being effective, but if you want to travel on airlines and they require you to wear them then there’s really no other choice except to get fined and ejected from a flight.
The case of this alleged assault is actually surprising that it didn’t result in more serious charges or an even more violent incident, since assaulting an airline employee is a serious matter that could easily escalate into a full-blown confrontation or armed police intervention.
Let’s hope the woman learned her lesson and stays home next time.