Federal Authorities Propose Heavy Penalties for Airline Passengers Who Refuse to Comply With Mask Mandates

By Samuel Allegri
Samuel Allegri
Samuel Allegri
June 14, 2021 Updated: June 14, 2021

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) proposed civil penalties for four passengers that allegedly transgressed their rules while dealing with flight attendants who gave them the instructions.

These sanctions are part of the FAA’s “zero-tolerance policy for unruly and dangerous behavior by passengers.”

“Since Jan. 1, 2021, the FAA has received approximately 2,800 reports of unruly behavior by passengers, including about 2,100 reports of passengers refusing to comply with the federal face mask mandate,” the FAA said in a statement.

One of the cases happened on Feb. 5, 2021. A passenger on a JetBlue Airlines flight going from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., to Las Vegas, Nev., allegedly didn’t want to wear his face mask even after being told over 10 times. He was told to cover both his mouth and nose unless “actively eating or drinking”—the federal authorities are proposing a $15,500 fine against him.

Another passenger onboard the same airline going from New York to Cancun, Mexico, on Feb. 27 2021, allegedly declined to wear her mask according to their regulations and behaved uncivilly toward the flight attendant, prompting the captain to divert the plane to a Florida airport—the FAA is proposing a fine of $10,500.

The next case happened on the 3rd of the same month on a flight fr0m Idaho to California on Alaska Airlines. FAA proposed a fine of $10,300, claiming that a passenger smoked an e-cigarette in the bathroom of the airplane, activating the smoke alarm. In addition, he is accused of having walked across the cabin without his mask over the mouth and nose and ignoring the flight attendant’s numerous instructions to do so.

The last case, which happened also on the 3rd of February, now carries a proposed civil penalty of $7,500. The FAA alleges that a passenger onboard a Southwest Airlines flight from Florida to Colorado repeatedly refused to obey the flight attendant’s instructions to wear her face mask.

The FAA announced its zero-tolerance policy in mid-January.

“Flying is the safest mode of transportation and I signed this order to keep it that way,” FAA Administrator Steve Dickson said.

Samuel Allegri
Samuel Allegri