Airline Passengers Could Face a $3,000 Fine for Refusing to Wear a Mask

If you break the rules, be prepared to pay.

As part of new measures to fight the Delta variant of COVID-19, the TSA will double the fines charged against passengers who refuse to wear face coverings on airplanes.

The Transportation Security Administration announced on Thursday that passengers who violate the federal mask mandate can be charged up to $3000. This rule will be enforced not only on all commercial airlines but at airports or on certain forms of public transportation like passenger rail or intercity buses. For first-time offenders, the penalties could cost anywhere from $500-$1000. For second-time offenders, refusing to wear a mask could cost anywhere from $1000-$3000.

"If you break the rules, be prepared to pay," said President Joe Biden During a news conference Thursday. Biden fully backed the new financial penalties adding in a statement, "And by the way, show some respect. The anger you see on television toward flight attendants and others doing their job is wrong. It's ugly."

These new and steeper than ever fines come after a survey conducted by the Association of Flight Attendants revealed that this year alone, flight attendants have had to deal with more uncooperative passengers than in previous years. The July survey found that "over 85 percent of all respondents had dealt with unruly passengers as air travel picked up in the first half of 2021. More than half (58%) had experienced at least five incidents this year. A shocking 17 percent reported experiencing a physical incident."

These new fines will be applied until January 18, 2022, and are a part of a broader plan announced by Biden to try and stop the spread of COVID-19 in the US.

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Janae Price is a News Staff Writer at Thrillist. She's a native New Yorker and loves all things cheese, K-pop, and culture. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter @janae_larie.