Transavia passenger convicted, fined over face mask refusal

Transavia airplanes at Schiphol
Transavia airplanes at Schiphol. April 21, 2007Pieter van MarionFlickrCC-BY-NC

An Italian man was convicted in court on Thursday for refusing instructions to wear a face mask during a flight from Spain to the Netherlands. The court imposed a 500-euro fine, suspending 200 euros if the 30-year-old passenger complies with two years of probationary conditions ordered by the court.

The incident happened on June 24 during a Transavia flight from Las Palmas to Amsterdam. "Despite instructions from the captain and cabin crew, he refused to put on his mask several times," the court recounted in a statement. Instead, he argued with the airline crew over the usefulness of physical distancing from other people. Because of this, cabin crew members were unable to pay more attention to the safety of the other passengers, the court said.

He was arrested once the plane landed at Schiphol Airport. The passenger was held and interrogated by the Marechaussee, a branch of the military responsible for the security of Dutch airports and borders.

The court agreed that the refusal to adhere to the captain's instructions to be a serious matter, particularly in light of the "uncertain times" people are facing, the court said. "In a confined environment such as on an airplane, you are obliged to do what the captain says. That is not only out of self-interest, but also in the interest of fellow passengers," a statement from the court said.