Tuesday 18 June 2024

US aircraft passenger faces record fine for violent behavior

A 34-year-old US woman has been sued for failing to pay a record $81,950 fine for assaulting co-passengers on an American Airlines flight in 2021, a report said.

Heather Wells was accused of kicking, punching and spatting at passengers on a Charlotte-bound flight that she had boarded from Texas on the 7th of July 2021. Heather Wells was gagged and bound with duct tape to her seat after she tried to open the aircraft door mid-air.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) had imposed $81,950 fine on her, the highest-ever imposed by the authority for violent behavior by a passenger, the FAA said.

FAA has now sued her for failing to pay the fine.

Wells ordered an alcoholic beverage and became "increasingly agitated and wanted to get out of the plane," the complaint said. The 34-year-old then tried to open the cabin front door while "screaming and yelling profanities."

Heather Wells was restrained to her seat with duct tape and flex cuffs but "continued to kick and spit and attempted to bite and head-butt a flight attendant and passengers," the report said. She continued the violent behaviour before she was sedated and removed from the plane once it landed at the Charlotte airport.

The woman is being fined $45,000 for assaulting and threatening crew members and posing "an imminent threat to the safety of the aircraft, crew and passengers," $27,950 for attempting to open the cabin door in-flight and $9,000 for interfering with the crew member's duties, the FAA reported.

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