DJ 33 1/3

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Southwest Airlines Paying Employees To Vaccinate

Photo: Getty Images

Southwest Airlines is offering extra pay to employees who are vaccinated against COVID-19. Employees will receive two days of pay if they are fully vaccinated by November 15. Pilots and flight attendants, who are not paid hourly, will receive compensation for 13 trip segments.

Employees who are not vaccinated after November 15, will not be paid if they have to miss time because of a positive diagnosis or close contact with somebody who has COVID.

Vaccinated employees who miss time because of COVID-19 will continue to receive ten days of paid sick leave.

Airline travelers who refuse to wear masks could face fines of up to $3,000.

TSA said it is doubling fines for travelers who won’t follow a federal mask mandate for air, bus and other forms of transportation.

Minimum fines will double, at $500, and go up to $3,000 for repeat offenders.

The Biden administration last month extended the mask mandate for air travel and other forms of transportation through Jan. 18.

Unruly passenger incidents have risen over the past year as airlines have been enforcing mask mandates.

"We have seen an alarming increase in the rate over the last few months, and it's something that we need to get under control," Federal Aviation Administration Administrator Steve Dickson said. "This is something that we should all be concerned about."

The FAA announced it had proposed nearly $100,000 in fines against four airline passengers. One passenger received a $52,500 fine for trying to open the cockpit door, in total the agency proposed $350,000 in fines to passengers in 2021.

People who are fined have 30 days to respond and can pay the fine outright, contest the findings that led to the fine, or tell the agency they cannot afford to pay.

The FAA has received more than 1,300 complaints from airlines in 2021.

"In a typical year, the agency will end up taking this type of enforcement action in about 100 to 160 enforcement cases, so it's nothing new," Dickson said. "What really is new is the volume that we're seeing right now."

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