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Unruly passenger slapped with record $81,950 fine for mid-air mayhem

NEW DELHI: An airline passenger in the US, who kicked, spat at staff and passengers and tried to open the cabin door mid-air before being tied to the seat with duct tape, has been fined $81,950 for unruly behavior—the largest fine imposed on an individual by the United States Federal Aviation Administration for such conduct.
According to a New York Times report, Heather Wells, who was traveling first class from Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport to Charlotte Douglas International Airport on July 7, 2021, became agitated about an hour into the flight after consuming alcohol and insisted she “wanted out” of the plane, the report said quoting a lawsuit filed on June 3 in the US district court for the Western District of Texas.
The unruly passenger then began running toward the rear of the plane, dropping to her knees and “talking incoherently to passengers, before crawling back toward the main cabin.
When a flight attendant intervened, she “became verbally aggressive, threatening to hurt him if he didn’t move, and then pushed him”.
She then rushed to the front of the plane and attempted to grab the “cabin door while screaming and yelling profanities”.
Two flight attendants and a passenger managed to restrain Wells, but not before she struck one of the attendants multiple times in the head.
They used duct tape and flex cuffs to secure her to a seat, though she continued kicking, spitting, and trying to bite and head butt, prompting them to further restrain her with tape, including over her mouth, according to the lawsuit cited by New York Times.
However, the report quoted Wells as saying to a local media outlet that she was experiencing mental health issues at the time of the incident and apologized in a statement.
“I know that it was not rational, and I was not actually in any external danger, but at the time I was genuinely afraid for my life,” she stated. “Words can’t express how sorry I am for the fear I caused and the people I hurt.”

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