After a summer of unmasked and unruly passengers growling, grouching, and groping their way across the friendly skies, airlines have had enough. The Transportation Security Administration announced Thursday a significant change to its bylaws: the doubling of fines for travelers who defy federal mask mandates for flights. First-time offenders will be fined between $500 and $1,000, while those who continue to ignore the rules will have to pay between $1,000 and $3,000. In July, the Federal Aviation Administration released data revealing that three in four of the more than 4,000 unruly-passenger citations issued on flights this year came from people deliberately flouting mask mandates.
The financial penalty update comes in tandem with President Biden’s White House speech on new strategies to tackle the spread of the coronavirus. “If you break the rules, be prepared to pay,” Biden said of tightening measures around the country. To passengers tempted to throw tantrums onboard an aircraft, he added: “Show some respect. The anger you see on television toward flight attendants others doing their job is wrong. It’s ugly.”