The TSA, which has a hard enough time finding guns and scissors, has a new distraction from its primary mission. They’re now the transportation mask police as a result of taking existing mask rules and making non-compliance a federal offense.
The Transportation Security Administration has announced its new fines for mask non-compliance: first offenses are $250, and fines range up to $1500 for repeated non-compliance. However TSA may seek higher or lower fines “[b]ased on substantial aggravating or mitigating factors.”
- Customers who refuse to wear a mask may but are not required to be refused travel
- Everyone has to approach airport security wearing a mask, but must take the mask off for identification purposes. TSA screeners are permitted to continue wearing masks, but passengers are not afforded this protection.
- Refusing to wear a mask at the security checkpoint is considered more serious by the TSA than refusing to wear one elsewhere in the airport or on a plane. Trying to go through security without a mask can also mean additional penalties for “attempting to circumvent screening requirements, interfering with screening personnel, or a combination of those offenses.”
- The TSA carves out mask exceptions, separate from airline exceptions.
[T]hose with a disability who cannot wear a mask, or cannot safely wear a mask because of the disability as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act, and those for whom a mask would create a risk to workplace health, safety, or job duty as determined by relevant workplace safety guidelines or federal regulations. Visit TSA.gov for more information about face mask requirements.
TSA fines, by the way, are lower than FAA fines for unruly behavior which were in place before the federal mask rule.
So not only has the federal mask mandate meant new exceptions to mask-wearing at American Airlines and at United, but lower fines from a less competent agency too.