In an effort to crack down on airplane delays caused by unruly passengers, the Port Authority has vowed to demand thousands of dollars in reimbursement costs from the perpetrators or take them to court.
Passenger antics that force flights to return to the gate -- among them, Alec Baldwin's refusal to turn off his phone last December -- not only delay a particular flight, but cause ripple effects for the airport and force the PA to spend manpower and money to address the problem person.
Agency records show problem passengers forced planes to return to their gates 390 times at the three major area airports in 2011, reports The New York Post. Such incidents cause delays of between 30 minutes and an hour as the plane makes its way back to the gate, the passenger is ejected and his or her luggage is removed, according to the paper.
Delays cost money -- an average of $5,867 an hour in 2011 for U.S. airlines, the Post reported. And the fed-up PA wants the passengers responsible to pay it back.
Port Authority Chief Pat Foye tells the Post the funds the agency recovers will go to the airline to cover wasted fuel and defray other delay-related costs. The PA will retain a small amount of the money to cover any expenses it incurred dealing with the offending passenger, he said.
If passengers refuse to pay up, the PA plans to take them to civil court.
Though Baldwin's notorious refusal to stop playing Words With Friends gained the most attention, most passenger-related delays do not stem from electronic-device issues.
The Post reported arguments between passengers or between passengers and crew account for most of the delays.
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