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Phoenix's Leading Local News: Weather, Traffic, Sports and more | Phoenix, Arizona | 12NEWS.com

FAA reports rise in plane rage incidences since beginning of the year

People in violation of the new no tolerance rule could face hefty fines and criminal charges, according to the agency.

ARIZONA, USA — New statistics from the Federal Aviation Administration show a rapid rise in plane rage incidences. 

The FAA says it’s gotten 1,300 reports in the past three months, as the number of passengers remains below pre-pandemic levels.

A couple cases of plane rage were caught on camera in Arizona through the past year. One of the more recent was on an Allegiant flight taking off from Mesa last October.

The fight was over a face mask.

In August, a 47-year-old woman was arrested and banned from American Airlines following an in-air fight. 

It was also over a face mask. 

Communication and behavior expert, Eric Bailey, said that short tempers and mask mandates don't mix. And with flights allowing more people, the ambiguity is also playing a role.

"States, municipalities and counties are starting to lift mandates on masks and where people can go in and out of. And that isn't the case on airplane," he said.

In a typical year, the FAA sees anywhere from 100 to 150 cases - only a fraction of those seen since February.

"These incidents have stemmed both from passengers refusal to wear masks and from recent violence at the U.S. capitol," The FAA said.

The agency is now taking a zero tolerance approach and cracking down on violators.

"I signed an order directing FAA safety inspectors and attorney's to pursue legal enforcement action against any passenger who assaults, threatens or intimidates or interferes with an airline crew members," the FAA added.

Bailey said that a way to combat this issue is to remember self-control, even in tense situations.

"All of the sudden we start reacting and doing things like grabbing hold of a flight attendant's arm or hitting someone. Or screaming or yelling, which is not going to be productive to what we actually want to do which is go on vacation," he added.

People violating the new no tolerance policy could face fines up to $35,000, criminal charges and possible lifetime bans on certain airlines.