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It sounds like good news: The Federal Aviation Administration reports that its tally of unruly passenger incidents in 2014 was the lowest in 20 years. A mere 121 incidents were reported, compared with 310 in 2004. But the New York Times takes issue with the number, on the basis of anecdotal evidence, plus in-flight videos of nasty behavior captured by fellow passengers.

Last month I wrote about the high price of bad behavior. The FAA handed out 20 fines of $10,000 or more from 2010 through September 2014 to passengers who attacked flight crew members or other passengers, got drunk and disruptive or otherwise caused a ruckus. Is the get-tough policy making potential troublemakers think twice? We can only hope.