A woman who was duct-taped to her seat aboard an American Airlines flight has been issued a record fine. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) imposed a $81,950 penalty against the unidentified woman who attacked the crew and tried to open the cabin door midflight.
The incident happened in July last year, but the FAA announced the fine on Friday, after a detailed inquiry. This is the largest penalty handed out by the American aviation regulator till date.
The woman was on a late-night flight from Dallas to Charlotte in North Carolina on July 6, 2021, when she fell into the aisle, according to New York Post. She then threatened to hurt the crew member who tried to help her, the FAA said.
The Post also reported that the woman even bit a flight attendant as she lunged forward “to open the front boarding door” as the flight was on cruising altitude.
It quoted an airline spokesperson as saying that she was restrained “for the safety and security of other customers and out crew”.
The Daily Mail, which also reached out to American Airlines, reported that the woman managed to “spit at, headbutt, bite and kick” the crew despite being restrained in flex cuffs.
She was then bound to a seat with her mouth and torso wrapped in a duct tape. The woman was taken to the hospital after the flight landed in Charlotte.
The entire incident was recorded and posted on a TikTok by a user. It showed the woman screaming “You! You! You!” as the passengers moved past her to get off the plane, reported the Post.
The FAA has reported a steep rise in unruly passengers since the beginning of COVID-19 pandemic. It initiated 1,099 inquiries last year, up from 183 in 2020 and 146 in 2019.