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FAA announces $52,000 fine for passenger who punched flight attendant

The Federal Aviation Administration announced a $52,000 fine, the largest this year, for a passenger who punched a flight attendant twice while attempting to open the cockpit on a Dec. 23 Delta flight. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI
The Federal Aviation Administration announced a $52,000 fine, the largest this year, for a passenger who punched a flight attendant twice while attempting to open the cockpit on a Dec. 23 Delta flight. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

May 17 (UPI) -- The Federal Aviation Administration proposed more than $100,000 in fines Monday against four "unruly" plane passengers, including a fine of more than $50,000 against one passenger.

The man faces a fine of $52,500, the largest the agency has announced this year, for attempting to open the cockpit door and striking a flight attendant in the face twice during a Dec. 23 Delta airlines flight from Honolulu to Seattle.

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The FAA said the man allegedly tried to open the door to the cockpit during the flight while refusing to follow instructions from crew members.

He was also accused of hitting a flight attendant in the face and pushing him to the floor and then threatening and charging the attendant as he attempted to restrain him. A passenger helped flight attendants place plastic handcuffs on the man but he was able to free himself from one of the cuffs and then struck the flight attendant in the face a second time.

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After the plane landed the man was ultimately taken into custody by police.

It was unclear if the $52,500 fine was the largest the agency has ever sought, as the largest fine the agency can seek for an individual offense is $35,000 but penalties can increase due to multiple offenses, officials told CBS News.

A second passenger faces a $27,000 fine after claiming he had a bomb and planned to blow up the plane during a Southwest Airlines flight from Phoenix to Chicago.

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The man allegedly began yelling and banging his hands on the seat in front of him after entering the plane and threatened to kill someone before making the bomb threat. Flight attendants moved the man away from other passengers and the flight was diverted to Oklahoma City, where the man was taken into custody.

The FAA sought an $18,500 penalty against a passenger on a Feb. 5 flight from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., to Las Vegas who drank several small bottles of alcohol he brought with him on the plane and refusing to wear his mask, defying instructions from flight attendants.

Finally, A woman incurred a $9,000 fine after she refused to follow instructions to wear her mask properly on a flight from Fort Lauderdale to Knoxville, Tenn. on Feb. 15. The woman also allegedly screamed at a flight attendant after she was told she could not sit in an exit row as she waited to use a bathroom while it was occupied.

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Also Monday, a passenger on a JetBlue flight from New York to San Francisco was arrested on suspicion of drug possession after forcing the aircraft to be diverted to Minneapolis for an unscheduled landing.

Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport police told NBC News the passenger, a 42-year-old man from Mechanicville, N.Y., was arrested after "acting erratically and aggressively" toward crew during the flight.

The man remained in custody late Monday afternoon, as Minneapolis prosecutors have until noon Tuesday to bring formal charges against him.

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