FAA seeks $27,500 fine from passenger for hitting flight attendant

Seats are shown on a Delta plane

Federal officials are seeking a $27,500 civil penalty against an airline passenger who allegedly struck a flight attendant who asked the passenger and a companion to leave the plane after a dispute over wearing a face mask.

The Federal Aviation Administration said Friday the confrontation on board a Delta Air Lines flight in October began when the passenger's companion refused to wear a mask, secure his tray table or fasten his seatbelt. Delta, like most airlines, requires most passengers to wear masks except when eating or drinking.

Pilots returned the plane to the gate, and the pair was asked to disembark. The first passenger began yelling at the flight attendant and other passengers, then hit the flight attendant under her left eye.

Passengers open Delta jet cabin door, exit via slide 

The FAA did not identify the offending passenger or say whether they were a man or a woman. The person has 30 days to respond to the proposed penalty.

The FAA announced tighter enforcement of rules against disturbances on planes after several rowdy incidents in early January on flights to and from Washington.

Passengers brawl on plane over masks