Report: TSA Fined Travelers $640K for Face Mask Violations

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The Transportation Security Administration has fined travelers $644,389 in 922 incidents involving face mask violations on airplanes, airports, and surface transportation, a report from the General Accounting Office says.

Overall, the TSA investigated 3,815 incidents involving potential face mask violations from February 2, 2021, to March 7, 2022, the report said. When fines weren’t levied, 2,709 warning notices were issued and no action was taken in 180 incidents.

The report said 788 incidents that resulted in fines occurred on board aircraft and resulted in fines averaging $634. Fines were issued in 18 airport checkpoint incidents with fines averaging $3,170, 72 incidents on airport premises with fines averaging $803, and 44 incidents on surface transportation with fines averaging $640.

The report did not say how many of the fines were collected.

TSA’s mask mandate, imposed to help stop the spread of COVID-19, went into effect in February 2021 and was extended several times. It had been scheduled to expire March 7 but was extended to April 18. People can be fined if they don’t wear masks on planes, trains, buses, and ships or in airports, train and bus stations, and ports.

The mask rules have angered some travelers, and airlines have reported incidents in which flight attendants have been physically assaulted.

The GAO report does not cover face mask incidents handled by the Federal Aviation Administration.

During 2021, the FAA handled 5,981 reports of unruly passengers with 4,290 incidents related to face masks. The FAA launched 1,122 investigations and 350 enforcement actions, with $5 million in fines proposed. It’s not known how much in fines was paid.

From Jan. 1, 2022, until March 14, 2022, the FAA handled 889 reports of unruly passengers with 587 incidents related to face masks. The FAA launched 242 investigations and 115 enforcement actions.

Sources

GAO. “TRANSPORTATION SECURITY TSA Efforts to Coordinate with Stakeholders on COVID­19 Security Directives”

FAA. “Unruly Passengers.”

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