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TSA Face Covering Non-Compliance Fines Reach Up to $1,500 for Repeat Offenders

TSA Face Covering Non-Compliance Fines Reach Up to $1,500 for Repeat Offenders
Joe Cortez

For flyers who decide not to wear a face covering at the airport, the Transportation Security Administration announced how much of a fine they could face. First-time offenders are subject to a $250 penalty, while repeat offenders could see fines of $1,500.

Flyers who choose not to wear a face covering at the airport and are not granted exemption will now face fines starting at $250. The Transportation Security Administration announced the new penalty schedule on Friday, Feb. 5, 2021.

Fines Reach Up to $1,500 For Those Caught Continually Skipping Face Coverings

The new fee schedule is in conjunction with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) universal face mask order, which took effect on Feb. 2, 2021. Under the previous executive order and CDC rule, the TSA was given authority to enforce the face covering requirement with civil penalties.

For a first-time offence of the security directive, flyers could face a penalty of $250. If they are caught trying to enter the secure zone without wearing a face covering, the fine for repeat offenses can climb up to $1,500. Those who continually try to skirt the law could face even higher fines.

“TSA will fully comply with the President’s Executive Orders, CDC guidance and the DHS National Emergency determination to ensure healthy and secure travel across all transportation sectors. This will help prevent further spread of COVID-19 and encourage a unified government response,” Darby LaJoye, Senior Official Performing the Duties of the TSA Administrator, said in the TSA statement. “As we continue to experience impacts from this pandemic, we are committed to this measure as the right thing to do for the TSA workforce, for our industry stakeholders and for passengers.”

Although the face mask rule and TSA enforcement are designed to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, the fines are among the lowest a flyer could face at the checkpoint. The lowest civil enforcement fine the agency charges is $130, for attempting to circumvent a security system. Other fines in the same area as the face mask fine are all $360, for attempting to carry flammable liquid or gel fuels onto an aircraft, attempting to carry a bladed item aboard a flight (such as an axe, hatchet, ice pick, or knife), attempting to carry-on self-defense spray or tear gas and attempting to carry consumer fireworks onto a commercial airplane.

In line with the rule, the TSA allows face covering exemptions for those under two years old and flyers with disabilities. Those who are seeking an exception are advised to call the TSA Cares helpline at 855-787-2227 around 72 hours prior to their departure.

While the CDC order is indefinite, the TSA will enforce face mask usage until May 11, 2021.

Financial Penalties in Addition to Bans from Airlines     

The face mask rule enforced by the TSA is the latest example of penalties flyers could face if they choose not to wear coverings in the airport and aboard their flights. Airlines have reportedly banned over 2,700 flyers for not wearing a face covering, as every major U.S.-based carrier requires flyers to use them when aboard.

View Comments (11)


  1. MRM

    February 10, 2021 at 5:44 am

    I am positive we will have defenders of “muh rights” on here telling everyone about the illegalities of fines, mandatory mask-wearing, etc. However, I will continue to laugh at those people and wish their parents had raised them better and sent them to better schools so that they would be capable of understanding and handling today’s world.

    On the flip side, while I despise government over-reach with the best of them, I am also smart enough to see that this is NOT that. I have zero sympathy for those caught without masks while travelling; I bellow with laughter at those that will be fined multiple times and continue to revel in those removed from planes for refusing to follow very simple rules. At some point the hope is that people realize public travel isn’t a civil right nor an entitlement – if you don’t like the rules, then drive yourself maskless wherever you want to go. You can also buy your own plane and make your own rules – just don’t continue to be stupid enough that you believe the world should bend to the 20% that aren’t willing/aren’t smart enough to follow simple rules.

    Never mind, I forgot: you can’t fix stupid.

  2. IBobi


    February 10, 2021 at 11:28 am

    Hope it works

  3. c502cid

    February 10, 2021 at 4:35 pm

    MRM…. aka Karen. Just like most of Flyertalk, it’s all about YOU isn’t it? What, there is only 2 airlines left? And airfares are over $1000?! It’s not fair screams Karen!

  4. laktonen

    February 10, 2021 at 4:53 pm

    The TSA might be able to protect us from something finally!

  5. MRM

    February 11, 2021 at 4:52 am

    1. Namecalling
    2. Irrelevant chatter about a completely different topic
    3. More namecalling

    Thanks for illustrating my point PERFECTLY! I knew it wouldn’t take long. Enjoy the fines and good luck with your future addition to the No-Fly List – sadly it’s not as exclusive as it once was.

  6. merle

    February 11, 2021 at 5:38 am

    Always going to be some individuals who can’t understand nor accept why people challenge the Government when “follow the science” gives way to sheer control or politics.

    * What kind of masks are safe? Bandanas? Those with one-way valves? How about one layer, or is it two layers of surgical masks? Reminder – the CDC, US Surgeon General and the WHO told us in 2020 that we didn’t need and shouldn’t be going out to buy masks

    * Why are there exceptions? If you are already vaccinated, do you need a mask? Then how about kids? How about those adults who use supplemental oxygen? If everyone can be a carrier, then there shouldn’t be a single exemption

    * How about age of masks, same mask worn for the past 3 weeks is going to be somehow “safe” in the reduction of the spread? Just touch the mask, and then grab that bin to place your baggage to get scanned … safer for the next guy who gets to touch that bin as well?

    * For those who complain about “Get your own pilots license” what about those who decide to use facilities that aren’t subservient to the TSA, such as Mrs. Pelosi who flew into an airport and debarked into an FBO, is it safer without a mask for her but not for passengers in a public terminal?

    So tell us – what kind of masks, to what degree and why are certain people exempt?

  7. rthib

    February 11, 2021 at 3:17 pm

    Maybe I missed it but when was that legislation passed?

  8. Counsellor

    February 11, 2021 at 5:40 pm

    Any idiot who seriously thinks the masks will trap or turn away viruses (which are so small they float right through without touching) is probably so stupid they put a chain link fence around their house to keep out mosquitoes. .

  9. gay

    February 12, 2021 at 4:25 am

    Ban them from the airports as well as the airplanes. One is more likely to catch the virus in the airport rather than on the airplane.

  10. htb

    February 14, 2021 at 2:17 am

    People who claim masks don’t work: when you undergo surgery next time please insist that the surgeons don’t wear masks because you want to prove a point.

  11. chuckd

    February 27, 2021 at 6:58 am

    Idiots who seriously think a virus being small means it “floats right through without touching” shouldn’t be talking as though they are experts in anything. Masks aren’t magic, but if you’re a mouth breathing knuckle dragger whose last science or bio class was the one you got a D in in 6th grade, please just stop with your nonsense.

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