JetBlue Passenger May Face $14,500 Fine After Allegedly Refusing to Wear Mask, Causing Emergency Landing

The passenger also allegedly refused to stop consuming alcohol he brought on the plane

Photo: Robert Alexander/Getty

A JetBlue passenger could face a $14,500 fine after he allegedly refused to wear a mask and continued to drink alcohol he brought on the plane.

The incident caused the pilot to fly back to John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) in an emergency landing when the flight was scheduled to go to the Dominican Republic, the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said in a press release.

The FAA is proposing the $14,000 civil penalty for the alleged breach of JetBlue's policies that occured on Dec. 23, 2020.

"The passenger crowded the traveler sitting next to him, spoke loudly, and refused to wear his face mask, the FAA alleges. Flight attendants moved the other passenger to a different seat after they complained about the man's behavior," the FAA said in their statement.

jetBlue plane
Joe Raedle/Getty

The statement continued, "A flight attendant warned the man that jetBlue's policies required him to wear a face mask, and twice warned him that FAA regulations prohibit passengers from drinking alcohol they bring on board an aircraft."

After multiple warnings, a flight attendant issued the passenger "Notice to Cease Illegal and Objectionable Behavior."

The cabin crew then told the captain about the man's behavior twice, causing the captain to declare an emergency to fly back to JFK "where the plane landed 4,000 pounds overweight due to the amount of fuel on board."

JFK Airport
Mario Tama/Getty

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"The passenger has 30 days after receiving the FAA's enforcement letter to respond to the Agency," the statement concluded.

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On JetBlue's website, there is a COVID-19 Info Hub, which says the airline is "requiring masks and having the most space between each row of seats of any U.S. airline."

They also have an Alcohol Guidelines section, stating, "You may bring wine, champagne or beer on a flight as long as it is in an unopened container. You are not allowed to consume your own alcohol while on board."

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