Three New York-area airports want to give passengers reason to behave on planes. With a proposed new policy, if they pulled an Alec Baldwin, not only would they risk getting booted off the plane, but they would also have to pay for the cost of the delay.
Airlines have increasingly needed to call police to remove uncooperative passengers. According to MSNBC, of the 1.3 million flights at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (LaGuardia, JFK and Newark Liberty) last year, 400 required police intervention. Most of those calls were for people refusing to turn off electronic devices, while smoking and passenger disputes ranked high, too.
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The Port Authority hopes stiffer penalties will act as a deterrent; plus, they would have the ability to sue the worst offenders. With the cost to operate an aircraft hovering at nearly $6,000 per hour, these fines prove quite a bit stiffer than a mere slap on the wrist.
If the Port Authority changes its policy to allow its lawyers to sue for money lost during a delay, expect other agencies to look into similar practices. Already, the FAA can fine or criminally charge passengers who cause problems for the flight crew, so consequences for poor actions on an airplane are nothing new.
But don’t think any new policy change will catch passengers unaware. The Port Authority plans a heavy marketing plan to remind us all to behave and do exactly as airline staff tells us. And that includes turning off our cell phones.