FAA fines passenger on flight from Florida $17K for vaping, drinking, refusing to wear mask

(Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

KEY WEST, Fla. – Federal aviation officials fined a woman $17,000 for drinking alcohol not served by the airline, vaping and refusing to wear a mask on a flight to Charlotte, North Carolina.

The Federal Administration Administration said the woman on a Republic Airways flight from Key West, Florida, on Feb. 28 was drinking alcohol that wasn’t served by the airline, interfering with crew members, trying to use a vape pen and was not complying with the federal face mask mandate, news outlets reported.

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The FAA said the aircraft returned to the gate at the Key West airport and she was removed from the plane.

The penalty is among more than $530,000 in fines levied against 34 passengers that the FAA announced last week. The agency has now fined unruly passengers more than $1 million this year amid a nearly 300% increase in such cases so far this year compared to reports during all of 2020.