The FAA had initiated only 1,300 such cases in the past decade.
While the agency tracks the number of enforcement actions against passengers, officials said it had not traditionally said how many reports it received since the number remained relatively consistent year over year. However, a few months ago, after noticing a “significant” increase in the number of reports being submitted by flight crews, it began to track those as well, officials said.
In response to a wave of disruptive behavior on flights linked to the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, FAA Administrator Steve Dickson signed an order in January establishing a “zero-tolerance” policy for passengers who refused to follow crew members’ orders. The order was set to expire in March, but was extended indefinitely.
The Biden administration also has taken a more aggressive approach toward mask-wearing, mandating such behavior in many settings.
Last week, the FAA announced enforcement actions against three passengers with fines ranging from $14,500 to $31,750. The three incidents involved travelers bringing their own alcohol aboard flights.
Two of the incidents took place on Jan. 4 and involved passengers on the same JetBlue flight from Haiti to Boston. A third incident took place Jan. 14 on a SkyWest flight from Yuma, Ariz., to Dallas-Fort Worth.
On Friday, the Transportation Security Administration announced that it would extend a requirement that people wear masks in transportation settings, including at airports, on commercial aircraft, and on buses and trains through Sept. 13. The requirement had been set to expire May 11.