On March 7, 2021 a Delta Airlines flight attendant targeted a first-class passenger for not wearing a mask – only, she was wearing a mask and following “the rules.” She took it so far as to report her to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), who followed up with a threatening notice, citing incorrect and exponentially high fines to potentially intimidate this passenger, while informing her that this is going on her “compliance history record.” Delta Airlines took it so far as to put her on a no-fly list with them. See both letters below.
What began as a day of exhaustion for Shannon (not real name) because she was about to spend an entire afternoon and evening in airports for a long travel home to Nevada, while sick (not from Covid), turned into a horrifying experience of being harassed throughout the flight by a flight attendant.
Shannon entered the airport to her connecting flight with her husband, both donning their masks. Yet, when Shannon stepped foot onto the plane, the flight attendant informed her that she wasn’t wearing the “correct” mask and needed to change it. She was wearing a “homemade mask made of a piece of solid material, without slits, exhalation valves, or punctures” as per CDC’s exact guidelines, reflected on the TSA order. The mask allowed Shannon to breathe a little better than when sporting the maxi pad style mask that the flight attendant was requiring. Despite being sick with inhalers on hand, Shannon complied and switched her mask out.
According to the TSA’s new executive order, “refusing to wear a mask is a violation of federal law and may result in denial of boarding, removal from the aircraft, and/or penalties under federal law.” If one doesn’t wear a mask, they will charge a “fine ranging from $250 for the first offense and up to $1,500 for repeat offenders. Based on substantial aggravating or mitigating factors, TSA may seek a sanction amount that falls outside these ranges.”
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) was formed by Homeland Security in response to the 9/11 attacks. It was signed into law November 19, 2001 by George W. Bush and has been criticized for its overreach ever since. Ultimately, they have security oversight of the entire transportation system for railroads, busses, airplanes, and other public transportation.
Once Shannon and her husband took their seats in first-class, Shannon quickly realized she was being scrutinized by this flight attendant, as she pulled her mask slightly down to eat snacks and then pulled it back up – which is allowed according to the CDC and TSA. When Shannon would pull it down to eat, the flight attendant would tell her she had to keep her mask on. Not feeling well, she decided to take a nap, and it was then that her mask slid down just below her nose. Suddenly, she was being jarred awake by the flight attendant, telling her she needed to put her mask on, and showing her a flyer about fines and how she could be put on a no-fly list. Shannon pulled her mask back up over her nose and stated that she had fallen asleep but the flight attendant continued to intimidate her. Shannon asked, “why are you doing this?” She had complied with the rules, even with the mask change which wasn’t required of her, and wore it the entire time on the flight, but this lady wasn’t letting up.
By the end of the flight Shannon couldn’t wait to get out of her seat and exit the plane, after enduring repeated harassment. As she was standing, the flight attendant came over to her and told her she was going to report her and that she would be met by someone to escort her. Shannon was furious, and at that point she stood up, began walking to the nearby exit door, and removed her mask as she exited the plane. A security man followed Shannon and her husband off, and walked them over to a woman who sat behind a desk, where they proceeded to take down her information. The woman said, “don’t worry, you won’t be fined or put on a no-fly list, but I do have to report this.” Later, Shannon found out she was put on Delta’s no-fly list.
Eleven days later, Shannon received this Warning Notice from TSA, in the mail.
Despite their executive order dated January 31, 2021 to run through May 11, 2021, stating fines were $250 for a first offense and up to $1500 for repeat offenders, Ms. Emily Daum took it upon herself to threaten fines up to $13,910.
According to the TSA, they may impose fines of up to $13,910 per person, per violation, for serious violations including things such as assault, firearms, explosives, or fraud. Their extensive list does not include “not complying with wearing a mask.” In fact, on TSA’s 12-page document on fines, updated February 8, 2021 – after the executive order on masks was implemented, there is no mention of masks whatsoever.
While the Biden administration allows for drug and child traffickers, and quite possibly terrorists, to flood through our borders, TSA is protecting our entire transportation systems through hardcore mask surveillance. Seems logical.
At the intro of this letter, it states that they had “completed an investigation,” but at no point did anyone contact Shannon to hear her side of the story. She had also explained to the woman who took down her information to “report her” that she was sick, showed her both of her inhalers, and informed her that the mask only slid down when she had fallen asleep, which she immediately pulled up upon being woken by the flight attendant. Was that not documented in this “report?” According to G-2e of TSA’s guidelines, that should have been documented, especially since there was no “refusal to comply.”
Interestingly, TSA’s 6-page document on mask requirements and exemptions, includes exemptions under the American Disabilities Act, and further states “persons who are experiencing difficulty breathing or shortness of breath or are feeling winded may remove the mask temporarily until able to resume normal breathing with the mask.” However, the flight attendant required her to switch out her CDC-acceptable homemade mask with a mask that made it more difficult for her to breath while she was sick and utilizing inhalers.
Regardless of the actual circumstances of what really happened on the flight, this letter informs Shannon that because this is a Warning Notice, she “has no rights to appeal this notice.” Isn’t that convenient? All the while, they created a case number, stated that this is now part of the “record” of her “compliance history.”
At no point had Shannon argued, been defiant, or not complied with their “rules” until the bitter end, after being repeatedly harassed while she was following the guidelines correctly. It’s a hell of a way to treat any passenger, let alone a passenger who paid more to be in first-class. It seems Delta Airlines isn’t concerned with losing customers, and the TSA is all about keeping records on people and intimidating them.
On March 23, 2021 Shannon received a letter from Delta Airlines informing her that she has been put on their no-fly list.
So bottom line, employees of airlines can disregard TSA and the CDC’s guidelines, unjustifiably target an individual, report that individual, and it becomes a “compliance history record” that gets saved, documented, and shared with third parties, but that individual is not allowed to “appeal” the warning. Imagine if they had decided to fine her and it was her word against the flight attendant’s? It might behoove everyone to video and document all airline confrontations that happen to yourself or others nearby.
Whereas they may not have fined her, Delta Airlines took it upon themselves to put her on a no-fly list, while suggesting that Shannon had “refused” to comply repeatedly. Both Shannon and her husband tell a much different story. Though she had no intentions of flying with Delta ever again, this just shows how quickly government agencies and big companies can harass, intimidate, and remove people from accessing services.
People may want to consider who they wish to financially support when selecting an airline (and all companies for that matter). Two friends recently flew on American Airlines and Southwest and people were able to slide their masks down while eating, and no one was given grief. Passengers complied with the “mask rules” just as Shannon had on her Delta Airlines flight. Interestingly, both American Airlines and Southwest flights were packed, which underscores the fact that while airlines promote “social distancing and mask wearing” are necessary to “save lives,” obviously the social distancing goes right out that little window when it comes to selling out the seats. Perhaps they should drop their masks once and for all?
If you have experienced a similar situation on Delta or other airlines, please comment below this article to help keep others informed of the tyranny they may face, and what airlines they may not wish to do business with.