LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Because of a recent increase in violent passenger behavior sparked by both the coronavirus guidelines and the heightened political tension, the Federal Aviation Administration Wednesday announced stiff new penalties for airline passengers who behave disruptively.
“The FAA has seen a disturbing increase in incidents where airline passengers have disrupted flights with threatening or violent behavior,” the agency said in a news release. “These incidents have stemmed both from passengers’ refusals to wear masks and from recent violence at the U.S. Capitol.”
CBS News has learned that more than 2,700 disruptive passengers have been banned by individual airlines from future flights.
Under the new order, passengers who either assault or threaten to assault an airline crewmember could face prison time and a fine of up to $35,000.
The new policy will be in effect through at least March 30.
The FAA said in the past it often reverted to warnings, counseling or civil penalties when dealing with “unruly passengers.” Under the new directive, however, there will be no such warnings.
“LAX is on continuous heightened alert when it comes to the safety and security of the airport,” the airport said in a statement Thursday. “However, we will be enhancing our operational procedures for the upcoming 2021 U.S. presidential inauguration. We are prepared to respond to any event that might occur at LAX.”
Meanwhile, anyone flying into LAX from anywhere outside of Southern California is required to fill out an online form in which they acknowledge that they understand that they are required to quarantine for at least 10 days after arrival.
Anyone arriving in the U.S. from overseas is also required to obtain a negative COVID-19 test within three days of their flight, under new CDC regulations announced Tuesday.
On Wednesday, the L.A. City Council voted to implement fines for those who refuse to wear a mask in indoor public places.