The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is seeking to penalise a jetBlue passenger with a NZ$14,630 fine after he blew his nose onto a blanket.
The man was flying from Ft Lauderdale International Airport to Los Angeles International Airport on the jetBlue flight on December 27 when he was asked by airline staff to wear his facemask.
"The FAA alleges the passenger repeatedly ignored, and was abusive to, flight attendants who instructed him to wear a facemask. At one point, while not wearing a mask, he coughed and blew his nose into a blanket," the authority said in a statement.
The administration is also looking to penalise another passenger with a NZ$12,500 fine after he allegedly behaved violently on a flight from Los Angeles to Newark Liberty International Airport.
The flight, which was also operated by jetBlue, took place on March 16. The FAA alleges the passenger acted in a disruptive manner from the moment he boarded the aircraft.
"He yelled, slammed overhead bins, and shouted profanities at the cabin crew, including threatening to harass a flight attendant during the entire flight. He also shouted profanities at the captain when the captain entered the cabin to ensure the passenger got off the plane. Law enforcement met the passenger at the boarding gate and escorted him out of the terminal," the FAA statement said.
US law prohibits interfering with aircraft crew or physically assaulting or threatening to physically assault anyone on an aircraft.
Passengers are subject to civil penalties for any misconduct which can threaten the safety of the flight by disrupting or distracting cabin crew from their safety duties.
Additionally, US law provides for criminal fines and imprisonment of passengers who interfere with the performance of a crewmember's duties by assaulting or intimidating them.
The FAA says it is "strictly enforcing a zero-tolerance policy toward passengers who cause disturbances on flights or fail to obey flight crew instructions in violation of the FAA's regulations or engage in conduct proscribed by federal law".
The passengers have 30 days to respond to the agency before any further action can take place.