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TSA increases fines for unruly passengers

The FAA says 75% of the 4,200 citations issued to unruly passengers, were given to people refusing to wear a mask.

SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif — Larger fines are being handed down for unruly passengers on airplanes.

TSA says starting Sept. 10, those involved in altercations for refusing to wear a mask while flying could be fined thousands of dollars.

We’ve all seen the videos. Passengers, yelling, cursing and fighting other passengers and the crew because they don’t want to wear a mask. Now TSA says the fines for that type of behavior is going to cost you even more.

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

On Thursday President Biden weighed in on thousands of incidents, some caught on video, with passengers coming to blows for refusing to wear a mask while on an airplane.

TSA announced that passengers refusing to wear a mask could be fined $500 to $1,000 for a first-time offense and up to 3,000 dollars for repeat offenders.

“I think they ought to be fined for that because it interrupts everybody else’s day and business. It also interrupts the airlines trying to do business,” said Ken, an airplane passenger at San Diego International Airport. 

The FAA says 75% of the 4,200 citations issued to unruly passengers, were given to people refusing to wear a mask.

The new mandate will also be enforced on passenger railroads, intercity bus services and other public transportation.

“If you’re going to disrupt an airline, I think you probably deserve the penalty. It is a private business, it’s not public. So, I mean you face the repercussions for that,” said Chris, an airplane passenger returning home to San Diego. 

TSA also says updated airport signs will warn passengers about the increased fines, which will be separate from penalties handed down by the FAA. 

They also reported that more than a million dollars in fines have already been issued to unruly passengers, but the President of the Flight Attendants Association says the fines may not be enough.

"What we need to do is have the DOJ also criminally prosecuting and using the penalties that are there under the law already up to 20 years in prison for any one of these incidents," said Sara Nelson, the International President of the Association of Flight Attendants.  

The mask mandate first went into effect in February and was extended through January 18.

Homeland Security also added that their job is to protect the public’s health and safety and they’ll continue to enforce the rules as needed.

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