New directives issued by TSA last week could subject travelers who do not comply with mask mandates to hefty fines. (Photo by Beth Hollerich)

TSA Doubles Fines for Not Using Masks in Airports

Refusing to wear masks while traveling through U.S. airports could now cost travelers up to $3,000.

The Transportation Security Administration announced last week it was doubling the fines for people who violate the federal mask mandate in the nation’s mass transportation systems.

The new range of penalties will be $500 to $1,000 for first offenders and $1,000 to $3,000 for subsequent offenses. TSA will provide updated signage at airports regarding the increased civil penalties.

The changes come as President Joe Biden’s administration issued a range of new directives last week aimed to curb COVID-19. Last month, the TSA extended the federal mask mandate for air, bus and train travel through Jan. 18. It had been set to expire Sept. 14.

“If you break the rules, be prepared to pay,” Biden said last week. “And by the way, show some respect.”

The president was referencing an increase in examples of unruly behavior toward flight attendants that have made headlines in recent months.

Airline crews are tasked with enforcing the mask policy on planes and have noted a surge in unruly passenger behavior, many of those instances related to masks.

Travelers at PIT who forget their masks can pick up a free one at the information desk prior to the security checkpoint as part of the Safe Travels program. For more information about Safe Travels, click here.

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