The Dutch Royal Military Police fined a passenger €300 on Friday for refusing to wear a face mask onboard a flight to Amsterdam Schipol Airport according to a Tweet posted by the service. The vast majority of airlines across Europe, as well as further afield, now mandate that crew and passengers wear a face mask or covering throughout their entire journey as a protective measure against COVID-19.
The Marechaussee, as the military police service is known in Dutch, said they were called to meet a flight earlier today to reports of a passenger failing to comply with mandatory face mask rules. After consulting with public prosecutors the officers fined the passenger, who has not been identified, a total of €300.
The police did not say what airline or flight the passenger was flying on but Dutch flag carrier KLM has mandated the wearing of face masks since May 11. The airline requires all passengers to wear either a non-medical face mask or surgical face mask and anyone who refuses will be denied boarding at the gate.
The current rules are in place until at least August 31 and only passengers under the age of 10 years old are exempt according to a KLM spokesperson
But in the Netherlands, it’s only a legal requirement to wear a face-covering while on public transport which doesn’t include planes so while KLM and other airlines might require passengers to wear a face mask it’s not actually against the law if a passenger refuses.
In this case, it’s likely that the passenger was fined for failing to comply with instructions from the aircraft commander and cabin crew.
Other countries have made it a legal requirement to wear a face mask on all forms of public transport, including planes. Canada was one of the first to introduce mandatory face-covering rules, while the United Kingdom will introduce similar legislation that will take effect from June 15.
In the United States, the likes of American, Delta and United Airlines have come in for criticism for introducing passenger face mask rules that can’t be enforced. In a series of internal memos, the airlines told flight attendants that they couldn’t force a passenger to wear a face mask if they refused and instead had to rely on persuasion and negotiation.
In contrast, the pilots of one KLM flight turned back to Schipol in a recent incident when a passenger refused to wear their face mask.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.