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American Airlines passenger removed from flight for not wearing a mask

American Airlines passenger refused to wear a mask amid the COVID-19 outbreak

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American Airlines airplanes are parked at their gates at JFK International Airport in New York.

American Airlines airplanes are parked at their gates at JFK International Airport in New York.

Mary Altaffer, Associated Press

American Airlines removed a passenger from a recent flight after the passenger refused to wear a mask onboard, a sign the national airline company is looking to enforce strict mask-wearing policies, according to multiple reports.

What’s happened:

  • Passenger Brandon Straka decided to fly from New York to Dallas. He refused to wear a mask or face covering, which is required under American Airlines policy.
  • Straka — a conservative personality who has appeared on Fox News, according to CNN — was removed after he refused to put on face covering.
  • CNN said: “This is the first known incident of this type since the airlines announced plans to more strictly enforce mask wearing.”
  • American Airlines confirmed the incident occurred on Flight 1263 from New York’s LaGuardia to Dallas/Fort Worth.
  • American Airlines spokesman Ross Feinstein told USA Today: “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. 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 was rebooked to a later flight. He agreed to wear a mask.
  • Straka slammed the decision in a Periscope social media post: “This is insane. Absolutely insane. We don’t even have a choice anymore.”
  • New York Times reporter Astead W. Herndon caught part of the interaction since he was on the same flight, according to Business Insider.

Recent controversy on American Airlines flight

  • The decision to ban a passenger from a flight came after another passenger’s story from an American Airlines flight went viral. Tony Scott, a recent passenger on an American Airlines flight, said the airline didn’t enforce its policy, allowing a woman to ride the aircraft without wearing a mask, according to the New York Post.
  • Scott said he bought a ticket to see his son after weeks of quarantine. He chose a first class seat where he would see less people and brought masks with him on board. The woman sitting next to him was not wearing a mask.