7 Rules Airline Passengers Must Obey

FAA Touts Zero Tolerance for Unruly and Dangerous Behavior

Unruly Passengers

The FAA investigates unruly-passenger incidents that airline crews report to the agency.

The data below reflects all cases the FAA investigated that cited violations of one or more FAA regulations or federal laws.

Year-to-date numbers current as of December 31, 2021:

FAA infographic

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General notes

  1. Interfering with the duties of a crewmember violates federal law.
  2. Federal Aviation Regulations 91.11, 121.580 and 135.120 state that “no person may assault, threaten, intimidate, or interfere with a crewmember in the performance of the crewmember’s duties aboard an aircraft being operated.”
  3. The numbers in the table reflect all cases that FAA investigated that cited violations of one or more of the following regulations and/or federal laws: 14 CFR 91.11, 121.580, 135.120, 125.328, 49 U.S.C. 46318 & 46504. Historically, FAA has closed these cases with legal enforcement action (civil penalties), administrative action (warning notices), compliance action (counseling), or no action if there is insufficient evidence of a regulatory violation or violation of federal law. However, under our current zero-tolerance policy toward unruly passengers, we are not addressing cases with warning notices or counseling. [EMPHASIS ADDED]
  4. The FAA’s database contains only those incidents reported to FAA. Reporting is at the discretion of the crewmember.
  5. Security violations are excluded. Those cases are handled by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).
  6. The repercussions for passengers who engage in unruly behavior can be substantial. They can be fined by the FAA or prosecuted on criminal charges.
  7. As part of the FAA’s Reauthorization Bill (PDF) FAA can propose up to $37,000 per violation for unruly passenger cases. Previously, the maximum civil penalty per violation was $25,000. One incident can result in multiple violations.

Page last modified: January 05, 2022 9:06:37 AM EST


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