Mask up on planes, or the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will slap travelers with hundreds of dollars in fines. Repeat offenders could see penalties north of $1,500, according to a TSA press release.
“Based on substantial aggravating or mitigating factors, TSA may seek a sanction amount that falls outside these ranges. TSA has provided transportation system operators specific guidance on how to report violations so that TSA may issue penalties to those who refuse to wear a face mask,” the agency also said.
Darby LaJoye, Senior Official Performing the TSA Administrator’s Duties, said TSA would “fully comply with the President’s Executive Orders, CDC guidance and the DHS National Emergency determination to ensure healthy and secure travel across all transportation sectors. This will help prevent further spread of COVID-19 and encourage a unified government response.”
Two weeks ago, President Biden signed an executive order requiring passengers to wear face coverings on planes. That means people who don’t wear masks could be slapped with fines, or worse, banned from traveling.
“As we continue to experience impacts from this pandemic, we are committed to this measure as the right thing to do for the TSA workforce, for our industry stakeholders and for passengers,” LaJoye said.
The crackdown on mask wearing has resulted in more than 2,500 passengers banned from planes for violating onboard mask policies.
The airline industry has been turning to mask enforcement as a way to regain confidence in air travel. Another confidence booster has been the introduction of “immunity passports” in Europe, which could be coming to the US later this year.
While there’s been an abundance of research to show masks don’t work against COVID-19, rules are rules, and if you want to fly and avoid being slapped with a fine, wear a mask.