Airline Electronic Usage Violations Could Carry Civil Penalties

Posted on March 28, 2012

We’re likely all aware that airlines have guidelines in place that prohibit the usage of electronic devices during takeoff.  Such offenses usually illicit a scolding, or if the passenger is belligerent, being kicked off of the flight.  But one airport might begin imposing a financial penalty on those passengers who are the worst offenders.

The New York and New Jersey Port Authority is considering implementing measures that would allow them to sue passengers in a civil court who became unruly to the point that they had to be thrown off a flight due to cell phone usage.  La Guardia, JFK, and Newark airports all fall under the banner of the Port Authority.

A spokesperson has said that police had to be called on passengers 400 times last year alone because the passengers would not turn off their cell phone, laptop, or other electronic device.  Such behavior can prove costly to the airline, the Port Authority, and other parties across the country who might be affected by the ripple effect of a delayed flight.

At the moment, no civil court recourse exists, although if a passenger’s behavior rises to the level of a disorderly conduct offense, he or she can face criminal punishment.

As a personal injury lawyer in San Francisco, this is one story I will continue to follow.  Much like a delayed flight, laws passed in one city could soon spread to the other side of the country.  When a person compromises safety, he or she must be prepared to face the consequences, and as a San Bernardino personal injury attorney, I need to be aware of what those consequences might be.

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