An Allegiant Air passenger was removed from his flight Monday over a mask dispute – but not the kind we’ve become accustomed to reading about during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The man was removed from Flight 1682 bound for Portsmouth, New Hampshire, before it left Punta Gorda Airport in southwest Florida Monday after reportedly interrupting the flight attendant’s safety briefing to ask her to put her mask back on.
“A passenger became disruptive during the pre-flight safety briefing,” Allegiant spokesperson Hilarie Grey told USA TODAY. “Following the announcement, the passenger persisted in making threatening statements to the flight attendant, to the point of harassment.”
Fox News and industry news site PaddleYourOwnKanoo.com reported the flight attendant removed her mask to complete the safety briefing after other passengers complained they couldn’t make out what she was saying and then put it back on immediately after finishing her announcement. The man reportedly asked her to put her mask back on during the briefing, and Grey characterized his behavior as “continued harassment directed at an Allegiant crew member.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Masks are recommended as a simple barrier to help prevent respiratory droplets from traveling into the air and onto other people when the person wearing the mask coughs, sneezes, talks, or raises their voice.”
In video following the incident obtained by USA TODAY, an airline station agent tells the man he needs to leave the plane or law enforcement will be called. Some other passengers can be heard grumbling things like, “Oh c’mon” and “This is ridiculous.”
The passenger asked to take his case up with the captain as he was led off the plane, saying, “I just asked somebody to put on their face mask. That’s all I did.”
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