Created: May 04, 2021 03:18 PM
(NBCNC) — The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has seen what it's calling a staggering spike in the number of unruly and dangerous behavior on airlines.
Typically, the FAA sees about 100-150 formal cases of bad behavior on airlines here in the U.S., but since the start of the year, the number of cases has jumped to around 1,300.
That number is even more dramatic because the number of passengers on planes is lower than pre-pandemic levels.
Most of the episodes revolve around mask-wearing, but the incidents range from verbal abuse of other passengers or flight attendants to physical altercations.
In one incident, a plane had to make an emergency landing because a passenger allegedly tried to open an emergency exit.
The FAA says it's now taking a zero-tolerance approach to bad behavior.
Unruly passengers can face criminal charges, fines up to $35,000, or lifetime bans on certain airlines.
The FAA is working with the Transportation Security Administration and Air Marshals to watch for unruly behavior that could threaten crew and passenger safety.
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