Duct-taped for violent, unruly behaviour, an American Airlines passenger is facing a record fine of $81,950. Heather Wells, the US woman onboard the plane, was accused of attempting to open the cabin door, physically assaulting the flight attendants and aggressively behaving towards her fellow passengers.

The incident occurred on July 7, 2021. Wells, 34, hailing from San Antonio was travelling in first class from the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport in Texas to the Charlotte Douglas International Airport in Charlotte. Her aggressive behaviour on the plane had cost her dearly. This is the high-ever fine assessed by the Federal Aviation Administration for unruly behaviour. She was now sued by FAA for failing to pay the fine.

Wells had to be duct-taped to her seat so that she could not attempt to create panic in the aircraft.

According to the lawsuit filed against her, it was alleged that she had ordered a whiskey and later became agitated. After the drinks, she “wanted out” of the plane. Causing utmost inconvenience to her fellow passengers, Wells began running towards the back of the plane, where she dropped to her knees in the aisle and began “talking incoherently to passengers, before crawling back toward the main cabin.”

When cabin crew members attempted to calm Wells, she “became verbally aggressive and told the flight attendant that she would ‘hurt him’ if he didn’t get out of her way.”

According to the court document, she moved to the front of the plane where she “lunged toward and attempted to grab” the cabin door, “all the while screaming and yelling profanities.”

That’s when the cabin crew members tried to restrain her. The lawsuit also mentioned that Wells struck one of the flight attendants in the head multiple times, reported The New York Times.

Though the flight attendants were able to restrain her with duct tape and flex cuffs and place her on a seat, she continued to “kick and spit” at the passengers and crew members. Therefore, she had to be further restrained with tape on her mouth.

She had to be sedated on reaching the destination in Charlotte before removing her from the plane, said the document.

Meanwhile, Wells, after the incident, said that she was having mental health issues and apologised in a statement.

“I know that it was not rational and I was not actually in any external danger but at the time I was genuinely afraid for my life,” the statement read. “Words can’t express how sorry I am for the fear I caused and the people I hurt,” she told KENS 5 news in San Antonio.

According to the lawsuit, Wells is liable for a civil penalty of $45,000 for her violent behaviour toward the crew and passengers; $27,950 for attempting to open the cabin door; and $9,000 for interfering with the performance of crew members’ duties.