The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has announced fines totaling $20,000 against two airline passengers who interfered with crews. The civil penalties come as as part of a zero-tolerance policy designed to combat a surge of similar cases in recent months.

The agency said it will seek a $10,500 fine against a passenger who repeatedly ignored orders to wear a mask, which is required by federal regulation, then coughed and blew his nose into a blanket during a JetBlue flight from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to Los Angeles in December.

A second man, who slammed overhead bins and shouted profanities at flight attendants and the captain after boarding a JetBlue flight from Los Angeles to Newark, New Jersey, in March before he was escorted off the plane, faces a $9,000 fine, according to the agency.

The pair of cases comes three days after the FAA announced potential fines against four other passengers. More than 12 passengers have been hit with fines, some of over $30,000, in recent weeks. The passengers have the right to dispute the fines. They have not been identified.

The zero-tolerance crackdown began in January after supporters of Donald Trump created disturbances on several flights to and from Washington DC.

The new policy no longer requires airlines to warn or counsels unruly passengers and instead goes straight to enforcement. While the FAA has power to impose civil penalties it remains up to law enforcement to decide on criminal charges.

The policy was initially set to stay in effect until late March, but was extended to September after the TSA extended its mask requirement.

The agency has said it has received 1,300 complaints from airlines about disruptive passengers this year, a figure that matches the number of enforcement actions over the past decade. Separately, US airlines have temporarily banned at least 3,000 people for refusing to cover their faces.

This content first appear on the guardian

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