I guess that’s one method of wealth redistribution

I guess we could impose a stupidity tax.

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) proposes a $14,500 civil penalty against an airline passenger for allegedly interfering with flight attendants who instructed him to wear a face mask and stop consuming alcohol he had brought on board the aircraft.

On a Dec. 23, 2020 jetBlue Airlines flight from John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) in New York to the Dominican Republic, 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.

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. Despite these warnings, the passenger continued to remove his face mask and drink his own alcohol, the FAA alleges.

A flight attendant issued the passenger a “Notice to Cease Illegal and Objectionable Behavior,” and the cabin crew notified the captain about his actions two separate times. As a result of the passenger’s actions, the captain declared an emergency and returned to JFK, where the plane landed 4,000 pounds overweight due to the amount of fuel on board.

I have no sympathy for this fellow, but I generally feel he’s going to be paying the price for his own idiocy for most of his life, and the main purpose of such a fine is to dissuade him from harming others.

Maybe first class is a more useful wealth tax? Charge the rich extravagantly for privilege of a few inches of space in a tin can, with freely available Airplane Wine.


  1. Artor says

    Maybe they can just eject problem passengers without turning around? They can get out and walk if they want to be assholes.

  2. Tethys says

    It’s a better system than strange women, lying in ponds, distributing swords.

    I hope all airlines can legally refuse to let entitled plague rats board, and fine them heavily for being entitled plague rats who think they are exempt from rules.

  3. raven says

    Maybe they can just eject problem passengers without turning around?

    They could give him a parachute to make it fair.
    It worked for DB Cooper.

  4. raven says

    The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) proposes a $14,500 civil penalty against an airline passenger…

    That fine is a small fraction of what it cost the airline to turn around, land again, and toss him off.

    The airlines can ban people for life and these days, frequently do so.
    AFAICT, the Don’t Let This Guy On a Plane list is airline specific.
    They should have one that is industry wide though. Not sure if the No Fly list covers these kinds of passengers. He isn’t so much a terrorist as he is a plague rat.

  5. Larry says

    Can passengers file suit for the inconvenience encountered (delays, missed connections) and the danger imposed by his not wearing a mask?

  6. komarov says

    “They could give him a parachute to make it fair.”

    If you want a parachute when being forcefully ejected then you should have ticked – and paid for – the parachute check-box when first booking your ticket. Flying doesn’t get any cheaper if airlines start having to factor in parachutes into everyone’s fare just to cover the occasional primadonna requiring mid-flight deplaning.

  7. tedw says

    Does this passenger have a name? I’m guessing that if he was darker skinned or had a religious affiliation other than Christianity his name and hometown would be plastered all over the news stories.

  8. komarov says

    Re: PaulBC

    No ticked box, no pretzels. In no-frills country cheap carbohydrates simply aren’t cheap enough. (Budget pretzels may be selected during booking by choosing the “in-flight gourmet snack deluxe (TM) (R)” option. Thank you for daring to fly with us.)

    Re: gijoel

    I know what you’re getting at but I’ll take this in a (presumably) different way: The lottery part is figuring out who gets to pay the tax. In the airline scenario everybody wins despite there being just one very stupid ticket holder.