American Airlines First Airline to Remove Passenger for Not Wearing a Mask

By Kurt Stolz on 17 June 2020
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American Airlines planes in Miami

American Airlines became late Wednesday the first U.S. airline to remove a passenger for refusing to wear a face mask.

Such masks are required by all U.S. airlines amidst the coronavirus pandemic.

The passenger, identified by the airline as Brandon Straka, a hair stylist and reportedly failed actor from New York, was asked to get off a flight from New York City to Dallas after refusing to wear a face mask in compliance with the airline’s policy, the carrier said.

The incident took place on board Flight 1263 from LaGuardia Airport to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.

“After he refused to comply with the instructions provided by the flight crew, our team members asked him to deplane,” the airline said in a statement, adding that the passenger “then deplaned and the flight departed the gate four minutes late at 12:34 p.m.”

A portion of the argument between a flight attendant, other passengers, and Straka, was captured and posted on Twitter by a New York Times reporter, Astead Hernon.

The audio captures a flight attendant asking Straka if he had a medical condition and documentation thereof to support why he couldn’t wear a mask.  One passenger was overheard saying “Either you put it on or get off.”

The passenger was rebooked on a later flight only after he agreed to comply with American’s face mask policy. He said he had worn a mask getting onto the aircraft but took it off after boarding.

The flight was delayed four minutes by the incident.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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