Skip to content

FAA wants to fine JetBlue passenger more than $14,500 for alleged mask refusal, alcohol violation

March 12, 2021
3 min read
FAA wants to fine JetBlue passenger more than $14,500 for alleged mask refusal, alcohol violation
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

In recent months, the FAA promised stricter enforcement and tougher penalties for passengers who refuse to wear masks, harass other passengers, or otherwise disrupt flights.

On Friday, the agency followed up on its threats.

The FAA issued a proposed fine of $14,500 against a passenger who is alleged to have disrupted a JetBlue flight just before Christmas.

According to the FAA, the passenger "crowded the traveler sitting next to him" on the Dec. 23 flight from New York JFK to the Dominican Republic, while shouting and continuously pulling his mask down even though flight attendants instructed him to wear it several times.

You can view the FAA's enforcement letter to the passenger at the bottom of this article.

JetBlue, like most U.S. airlines, requires all passengers traveling on board to wear face masks due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The federal government began to require masks to be worn on planes and other forms of mass transit in January.

Want more airline-specific news? Sign up for TPG's free new biweekly Aviation newsletter!

The passenger was also allegedly drinking alcohol he brought on board with him — which is illegal under FAA regulations — and ignored the flight attendants when they told him to stop.

Eventually, the passenger was issued a formal "Notice to Cease Illegal and Objectionable Behavior," and the captain decided to return to JFK to have the unruly person removed from the flight.

Sign up for our daily newsletter

Although mask-use was not federally mandated at the time, interfering with or disregarding instructions from a flight crew member is prohibited.

Airlines and flight attendants have called for the federal government to step up enforcement of mask requirements several times — they doubled-down on calls after a number of disorderly incidents on flights in the lead-up to and aftermath of the attack on the U.S. Capitol Building on Jan. 6.

"We’re not screwing around here — you just can’t with safety and health," Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, told TPG. Nelson has repeatedly called for backup from the federal government in dealing with mask violators.

More: CDC now recommends double-masking: TPG’s 9 favorite face masks and where to buy them

"Kudos to the FAA for backing up words with action," she added. "This backs up the crew and relays to all other passengers that we’re serious about keeping them safe. Sit back, relax, and wear your mask!" The AFA represents flight attendants at 17 airlines, JetBlue cabin crew are represented by a different union.

The passenger has 30 days to respond to the FAA enforcement letter, which levies a civil penalty. The response can involve an appeal, but there is no guarantee of the fine being changed. It was not immediately clear whether the passenger also faced criminal charges, although the plane was met by Port Authority Police when it landed.

Redacted 2021EA0210 by David Slotnick


Featured photo by Craig Warga/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Featured image by Bloomberg via Getty Images
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Top offers from our partners

How we chose these cards

Our points-obsessed staff uses a plethora of credit cards on a daily basis. If anyone on our team wouldn’t recommend it to a friend or a family member, we wouldn’t recommend it on The Points Guy either. Our opinions are our own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by our advertising partners.
See all best card offers

TPG featured card

Best for earning alternative rewards for travel purchases
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
3 / 5
Go to review
Apply for Credit One Bank Wander® Card
at Credit One Bank's secure site

Rewards

1 - 10X points
10XEarn 10x points on eligible hotels and car rentals booked through the Credit One Bank travel partner site
5XEarn 5x points on eligible travel, dining, and gas
1XEarn 1x points on all other purchases

Intro offer

Earn 10,000 Bonus Points
Earn 10,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on eligible purchases in the first 90 days and redeem for a $100 statement credit, gift cards, or travel

Annual Fee

$95

Recommended Credit

Fair/Good
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

The revamped Wander Card from Credit One Bank earns cardmembers up to 10 points per dollar spent on eligible travel purchases. With no foreign transaction fees, the card is also great for international travel. However, points earned from this card can only be used at a fixed value, so it may not be the best option for those striving to get maximum value from their rewards.

Pros

  • This card has no foreign transaction fees and earns up to 10 points per dollar on travel purchases through the Credit One Bank travel partner site.

Cons

  • While cardholders can earn a significant amount of points on travel purchases, there isn't any way to redeem points from the Wander Card for maximum value (beyond 1 cent per point).
  • Earn 10,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on eligible purchases in the first 90 days and redeem for a $100 statement credit, gift cards, or travel
  • Earn 10x points on eligible hotels and car rentals booked through the Credit One Bank travel site
  • Earn 5x points on eligible travel, dining, and gas
  • Earn 1x points on all other purchases
  • Redeem your reward points for statement credits, gift cards, merchandise, flights, hotels, and more
  • With $0 Fraud Liability, you won’t be responsible for unauthorized charges
  • Free Online Credit Score and Credit Report summary, terms apply
  • If you are a Covered Borrower under the Military Lending Act, you may get a different offer
  • See Rates & Fees
Apply for Credit One Bank Wander® Card
at Credit One Bank's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
Best for earning alternative rewards for travel purchases
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
3 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10XEarn 10x points on eligible hotels and car rentals booked through the Credit One Bank travel partner site
5XEarn 5x points on eligible travel, dining, and gas
1XEarn 1x points on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 10,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on eligible purchases in the first 90 days and redeem for a $100 statement credit, gift cards, or travel

    Earn 10,000 Bonus Points
  • Annual Fee

    $95
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    Fair/Good

Why We Chose It

The revamped Wander Card from Credit One Bank earns cardmembers up to 10 points per dollar spent on eligible travel purchases. With no foreign transaction fees, the card is also great for international travel. However, points earned from this card can only be used at a fixed value, so it may not be the best option for those striving to get maximum value from their rewards.

Pros

  • This card has no foreign transaction fees and earns up to 10 points per dollar on travel purchases through the Credit One Bank travel partner site.

Cons

  • While cardholders can earn a significant amount of points on travel purchases, there isn't any way to redeem points from the Wander Card for maximum value (beyond 1 cent per point).
  • Earn 10,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on eligible purchases in the first 90 days and redeem for a $100 statement credit, gift cards, or travel
  • Earn 10x points on eligible hotels and car rentals booked through the Credit One Bank travel site
  • Earn 5x points on eligible travel, dining, and gas
  • Earn 1x points on all other purchases
  • Redeem your reward points for statement credits, gift cards, merchandise, flights, hotels, and more
  • With $0 Fraud Liability, you won’t be responsible for unauthorized charges
  • Free Online Credit Score and Credit Report summary, terms apply
  • If you are a Covered Borrower under the Military Lending Act, you may get a different offer
  • See Rates & Fees