If a passenger refuses to put on a mask while boarding the aircraft, they may be removed from the flight. In addition to a missed flight, a person may also face a fine or even administrative arrest.
Is it mandatory to wear masks while flying?
In accordance with the recommendations of Rospotrebnadzor, there must be a supply of personal protective equipment on board the aircraft (based on the number of passengers and crew members on board, taking into account the duration of the flight and changing masks every three hours).
In turn, the Methodological Guidelines for the gradual exit from the anti-epidemic restrictions regime introduced as part of the fight against the spread of a new coronavirus infection during the restoration of air passenger traffic in civil aviation, it is said that within the first two stages of the exit from the restrictions, passengers are allowed on board the aircraft in protective masks and gloves – it is prohibited to take them off during the entire flight. If the flight takes more than three hours, the flight attendants must collect the used protective masks and distribute new ones to the passengers. In the third stage, passengers must comply with the mask regime only if a person with an elevated temperature and symptoms of an infectious disease is on board.
The instructions of Rospotrebnadzor and the Ministry of Transport are advisory in nature, however, in practice, all airlines are obliged to wear masks for passengers. For example, Aeroflot requires passengers not to take off their masks and gloves during the entire time on board and change them every three hours of the flight. Rossiya Airlines has similar requirements – passengers without PPE are not allowed on board. Passengers are also obliged to wear masks and gloves by S7 Airlines, Utair, Ural Airlines and other carriers.
What is the threat to a passenger who refused to wear a mask?
First, a passenger who refuses to wear a mask may be removed from the flight. Such an incident took place in June 2020 at the Rostov-on-Don airport. The man flew from there to Moscow. He passed control, entered the plane, and on board refused to put on a mask, despite the request of the aircraft commander. As a result, the passenger was removed from the flight.
A similar incident occurred at the end of December 2020 with a passenger on a flight from Yekaterinburg to Moscow. As the press service of the Ural Transport Prosecutor’s Office told Interfax, due to the passenger refusing to put on a mask, the flight had to be delayed by more than an hour.
Another incident happened at the end of December in Murmansk – at the airport, a passenger was removed from one of the Moscow flights, who was in a state of alcoholic intoxication and refused to wear a mask.
In addition to being removed from the flight, violators may face administrative liability.
In particular, under article 11.17 of the Administrative Code (“Violation of the rules of conduct of citizens on rail, air or water transport”). According to it, the failure of persons on board the aircraft to comply with the legal orders of the commander of the vessel entails the imposition of an administrative fine in the amount of 2,000 to 5,000 rubles or administrative arrest for up to 15 days.
Also, the passenger can be attracted under another article of the Code of Administrative Offenses – 20.6.1 (“Failure to comply with the rules of conduct in an emergency or threat of its occurrence”) In this case, the offender can either get off with a warning, or he can be assigned an administrative fine in the amount of 1 thousand to 30 thousand rubles.
If the airport employees had to call the police to reason with the offender, and the person refuses to comply with the demands of law enforcement officers, then an administrative protocol may be drawn up against him under Article 19.3 (“Disobedience to a lawful order of a police officer”). This violation entails the imposition of an administrative fine in the amount of 500 to 1,000 rubles or administrative arrest for up to 15 days.
In mid-December, Aeroflot announced that passengers who refused to put on a mask during the flight will be transferred to specially designated seats. As RBC reported with reference to a company representative, however, this measure “does not exclude the use of other measures of liability for violation of the rules for the use of personal protective equipment on board.”