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Photo: David Ryder / Getty Images

The Federal Aviation Administration announced a new "zero tolerance policy" toward unruly airline passengers, who could face fines of up to $35,000 and imprisonment for interfering with crew members.

Why it matters: The crackdown comes after the agency saw a "disturbing increase in incidents" of passengers disrupting flights with "threatening or violent behavior" stemming from their refusal to wear masks and recent violence at the U.S. Capitol.

Between the lines: In the past, the FAA responded to unruly passenger incidents with a variety of methods ranging from warnings and counseling to civil penalties.

  • Under the new order, in effect through March 30, the FAA will pursue legal action with no warning for anyone who assaults, threatens, intimidates or interferes with a crew member.
  • United Airlines told ABC News it has banned 60 people for mask violations in the last week alone, which is higher than their previous week averages.
  • Two days after the Capitol riot, videos showed passengers on an American flight en route from D.C. to Phoenix chanting "USA" and "Fight For Trump," eventually causing the pilot to threaten to divert the plane to Kansas if passengers didn't "behave."

What they're saying: "First strike and you're out. We applaud FAA Administrator (Steve) Dickson for taking this clear stand for our safety and security," Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, said in a statement.

Go deeper

Big Tech scrambles to prevent inauguration threats

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Big Tech companies are scrambling to take action to prevent Inauguration Day violence, taking matters into their own hands after the government was caught ill-prepared for last week's Capitol siege.

What's happening: Major firms are taking a range of steps to stop their platforms from being used to plan, incite or carry out violent acts in Washington, D.C.

Tech digs in for long domestic terror fight

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

With domestic extremist networks scrambling to regroup online, experts fear the next attack could come from a radicalized individual — much harder than coordinated mass events for law enforcement and platforms to detect or deter.

The big picture: Companies like Facebook and Twitter stepped up enforcement and their conversations with law enforcement ahead of Inauguration Day. But they'll be tested as the threat rises that impatient lone-wolf attackers will lash out.

The pandemic could be worsening childhood obesity

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The 10-month long school closures and the coronavirus pandemic are expected to have a big impact on childhood obesity rates.

Why it matters: About one in five children are obese in the U.S. — an all-time high — with worsening obesity rates across income and racial and ethnic groups, data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey show.