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TSA to double minimum fines for air travelers who refuse to wear masks to $500

A TSA agent checks travelers through security at John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana, CA on Tuesday, January 26, 2021.
Paul Bersebach | MediaNews Group | Getty Images

Air travelers who refuse to wear masks could soon face fines of up to $3,000.

The Transportation Security Administration is planning to double fines for travelers who refuse to follow a federal mask mandate for air travel, a senior Biden administration official said. Minimum fines will double, starting at $500, and go up to $3,000 for repeat offenders.

The Biden administration last month extended the federal mask mandate for air, bus and train travel through Jan. 18 in an effort to slow the spread of Covid-19 as infections surged around the country. It had been set to expire in mid-September.

Airline crews have been tasked with enforcing the federal mask policy on planes and have repeatedly complained about a surge in unruly passenger behavior, many of those cases tied to violations of the mandate.

Disputes over following the federal mask rules on planes were cited in nearly 75% of the close to 4,200 cases of unruly passengers the Federal Aviation Administration received this year.

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