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Delta Passenger Facing Fine after Interfering and Assaulting a Flight Attendant Over Mask Dispute

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A Delta passenger is facing a $27,500 fine “for allegedly interfering with and assaulting a flight attendant,” the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration said on Friday.

The passenger, who hasn’t been named, allegedly hit a flight attendant in the face over a face mask dispute during a Delta Air Lines flight from Miami to Atlanta on Oct. 19.

According to the FAA, the passenger was accompanied by another passenger who refused to use his face mask, secure his seat tray table and fasten his seat belt during the flight, as advised by the flight crew.

As a result of his actions, the flight was ordered to return to the gate and the two passengers were asked to voluntarily get off the plane.

They didn’t.

Instead, the person who accompanied the anti-face mask passenger “began yelling expletives at the flight attendant and other passengers, and struck the flight attendant under her left eye,” the FAA said in a statement.

According to the agency, “federal law prohibits interfering with aircraft crew or physically assaulting or threatening to physically assault aircraft crew or anyone else on an aircraft.”

The FAA, which is enforcing a zero-tolerance policy for such misconduct, added that passengers who threaten “the safety of the flight by disrupting or distracting cabin crew from their safety duties” are subject to civil penalties.

Earlier this year — a week after Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol and caused multiple incidents on airlines going to and coming from Washington, D.C. — FAA Administrator Steve Dickson signed an order “directing the agency to take strong action against any passenger who disrupts or threatens the safety of a flight, with penalties ranging from fines to jail time,” the agency tweeted at the time.

For the Delta passenger, the FAA has proposed a $27,500 civil penalty.

The passenger now has 30 days to respond to the agency.

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