Commentary

If You Fly Unmasked or Are Deemed 'Unruly,' Here's the Shocking Way the FAA Can Retaliate

It seems like we’re expected to wear masks everywhere, right?

Of course, airplanes are no exception. And the penalty for flying unmasked or being deemed “unruly” could be enough to deter this sort of behavior.

Just ask two passengers who face massive fines after allegedly instigating on-flight chaos, the Federal Aviation Administration told CNN earlier this week.

According to CNN’s report, one passenger accused of “grabbing and striking two flight attendants during a February flight faces a fine of $32,750.”

The other, a passenger on a different flight, is accused of hitting “one of the flight attendants with his bags” and faces a lesser — but still significant — fine of $16,500, the outlet reported.

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Amid the pandemic, a rise in instances of unruly behavior has been reported despite a decrease in the number of airline passengers.

“Instead of one report of a troublesome passenger every few days, flight crews were calling in with multiple issues daily,” an FAA spokesman told CNN.

Ever since the Biden administration’s mask mandate for various means of transportation — including planes — went into effect, the Transportation Security Administration has received nearly 2,000 reports of violations, according to another CNN report.

Now, there’s no excuse for physical violence against flight attendants or anyone else. But it’s important to realize that fines aren’t just being levied against people instigating violence in the air.

Do you support the on-flight mask mandate?

It appears that “unruly” behavior includes simply opting not to wear a mask.

“The [FAA] also called for a $9,000 fine against a passenger whose noncompliance with the mask mandate in late January caused the Alaska Airlines pilot to turn back to the gate before takeoff,” CNN reported.

Though we can all generally agree that attacking a flight attendant should come with consequences, a $9,000 fine for not wearing a mask is entirely too much.

“We will not address these cases through warnings or counseling,” FAA Administrator Steve Dickson said in January.

Instead, the agency wants violators to be fined or jailed.

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Refusing to follow guidelines — including the mask mandate — has led to other incidents surrounding airlines.

Delta Air Lines has thus far banned 460 “anti-maskers” from flying, according to CNN Business.

It’s safe to say the cult-like insanity of mask-wearing has gone beyond what we ever dreamed.

While it’s easy to understand that airline employees and TSA agents have no choice but to enforce the rules, such excessive punishments do not suit the offense.

The two passengers who allegedly caused bodily harm to flight attendants should face consequences — if indeed they are guilty — but slapping passengers with immense fines for their lack of faith in a mask rule fueled by science that has consistently changed isn’t the way to go.

We can wonder how we ever came to this point in pandemic culture. We can question what we are told, especially considering those who tell us who and what to believe are the ones already in power.

Maybe they want more.

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Taylor Penley is a government relations intern and student studying English, rhetoric and global studies. She plans to graduate in May 2021 and begin a master of arts program in political science this fall.
Taylor Penley is a government relations intern and student studying English, rhetoric and global studies. She plans to graduate in May 2021 and begin a master of arts program in political science this fall.




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