July 4, 2020
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American Airlines passenger removed from flight for not wearing face mask

American Airlines passenger removed from flight for not wearing face mask

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American Airlines kicked a passenger off a flight on Wednesday after he refused to wear a face mask, per the airline’s coronavirus policy.

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“Prior to the departure from the gate of American Airlines flight 1263 from New York’s LaGuardia to Dallas/Fort Worth, Brandon Straka declined to wear a face covering,” American Airlines spokesman Ross Feinstein told USA TODAY in a statement. “After he refused to comply with the instructions provided by the flight crew, our team members asked him to deplane. He deplaned and the flight departed the gate four minutes late at 12:34 p.m. ET.”

Straka tweeted: “I was just removed from my flight for not wearing a mask. 1st time this has happened. Not a federal law. @AmericanAir staff standing over me telling me it’s THE LAW. So much for ‘please respect those who can not wear a mask’. When I pointed out this wasn’t a law I was removed … AFTER removing me flight manager says – they made a mistake. They had no right to ask you that.” He also discussed the incident in a selfie video on the platform.

A New York Times reporter, Astead Herndon, aboard the flight documented the incident on Twitter, both in tweets and on video.

He also took a screenshot of one of Straka’s tweets, alleging the circumstances were different than Straka described.

“Absolutely not how the interaction went. Not only did this guy hold up the entire flight he is fabricating how the interaction went with the flight attendants for some twitter likes,” Herndon wrote. “He said you never even asked me if I had a condition that makes me incapable or wearing a mask. The flight attendant was like well do you. He said yes. She asked if he had paperwork and he said no.”

Straka replied to the tweet Herndon took a screenshot of, saying it was written prior to the first flight attendant approaching him about the mask, calling it a “joke” regarding the general announcement about masks.

“Mr. Straka stated to our airport team members that he would comply with our policies, and was rebooked on a later flight,” Feinstein added. “Our team is reviewing this incident, and we have reached out to Mr. Straka to get more information.”

United, American, Delta, Southwest, Alaska, Frontier and JetBlue have all announced passenger mask requirements.

American said it “may also deny future travel for customers who refuse to wear a face covering,” according to a news release.

United Airlines doubled down on its mandatory mask policy and announced Monday that any passenger who refuses to comply with its mask requirement will be placed on an “internal travel restriction list,” starting Thursday.

The Federal Aviation Administration won’t require the wearing of masks on commercial aircraft, continuing to leave that issue to individual airlines, the agency’s chief said Wednesday.

The U.S. Department of Transportation will send nearly 100 million cloth face masks to airports, Amtrak and transit systems for passengers, the department said Friday.

Contributing: Cydney Henderson, Dawn Gilbertson, Curtis Tate and Chris Woodyard, USA TODAY

Only ‘guidelines’: FAA won’t make wearing of face masks on airlines mandatory

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: American Airlines passenger kicked off plane for not wearing face mask


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