Mateusz Maszczynski is a serving international flight attendant with experience…
President Biden told anti-maskers and other unruly passengers to “show some respect” to flight attendants during a speech in which he announced sweeping vaccine mandates for federal workers and large businesses on Thursday. Biden also used the opportunity to toughen up federal mask rules.
“The TSA will double the fines on travelers who refuse to mask,” Biden said. “If you break the rules, be prepared to pay. And by the way, show some respect! The anger you see on television toward flight attendants and others doing their job is ugly, it’s wrong”.
Within hours, the Department of Homeland Security announced plans to increase the fines for non-compliance with the federal face mask mandate for public transit. The mandate was recently extended and will remain in effect until January 18, 2022.
First time offenders could now face fines of between $500 to $1,000, while repeat rule breakers could be stung with fines starting at $1,000 going up to $3,000.
The problem, however, is that despite a surge in unruly passenger incidents – the majority of which are linked to face mask rules – surprisingly few fines have been issued by the TSA for non-compliance with the mask mandate.
According to analysis by The Hill, of 2,400 incidents of reported non-compliance only 38 were referred for civil penalties to be issued and of those, only two people have so far agreed to pay the fines.
In a statement, TSA Administrator David Pekoske said he hoped the doubling of the available penalties would “reinforce the importance of voluntary adherence” to the mandate.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has received a total of 4,184 unruly passenger incidents so far this year, 73 per cent of which are mask-related offences.
The FAA has the power to issue its own civil penalties and has initiated 153 enforcement cases in the most serious offences with fines now totalling more than $1 million.
Mateusz Maszczynski is a serving international flight attendant with experience at a major Middle East and European airline. Mateusz is passionate about the aviation industry and helping aspiring flight attendants achieve their dreams. Cabin crew recruitment can be tough, ultra-competitive and just a little bit confusing - Mateusz has been there and done that. He's got the low down on what really works.