Southwest planes at LAX
Southwest Airlines Planes at Los Angeles International Airport. MNLA photo by John Schreiber.

The Federal Aviation Administration proposed a $10,500 fine for a Southwest Airlines passenger who allegedly cursed at flight attendants and refused to turn off his cell phone and put on a face mask, delaying a flight out of Los Angeles International Airport, officials said Tuesday.

According to the FAA, the unidentified passenger was aboard a plane heading to Sacramento on Feb. 25. While the plane was on the LAX runway prior to takeoff, the passenger was talking on his phone and not wearing his face mask, which is still mandated on airplanes, agency officials said.

“After two crew members instructed him to turn off his phone and wear his mask several times, he began to use profane language and told the flight attendants to go away,” according to the FAA. “As a result, the captain returned the flight to the gate, and a Southwest customer service representative escorted the passenger off the aircraft.”

Law enforcement met the passenger on the jetway, according to the FAA. It was unclear if he was arrested or charged with a crime.

Passengers who receive proposed fines from the FAA have 30 days to respond to the agency.

According to the FAA, the agency is enforcing a zero-tolerance policy against “unruly and dangerous behavior by passengers.” The agency contends that since Jan. 1, it has received about 3,100 reports of unruly behavior, including about 2,350 reports of passengers refusing to comply with the mask-wearing requirement.

The FAA has proposed a total of $563,800 in fines during that time.

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