A flight was diverted earlier this week after a man refused to wear a mask. This probably isn’t the first or last time we’ll hear a story like this. Rather what makes this story unique is where it took place: in Japan!
Peach Aviation flight diverts over mask incident
On Monday afternoon a Peach Aviation flight with 124 people from Kushiro to Kansai diverted to Niigata, after an unruly anti-masker started threatening the crew. For those of you not familiar with Peach Aviation, it’s a Japanese low cost carrier that’s partly owned by All Nippon Airways.
So, what exactly happened? Based on reports from the airline and police:
- Before the plane took off, flight attendants noticed that the man wasn’t wearing a mask, so they asked him to put one on, but he refused
- People seated near the man started asking to be reseated, because they didn’t want to sit near someone without a mask
- The man became angry at this point and accused other passengers of slandering him
- This confrontation caused the flight’s departure to be delayed by about 45 minutes, though somehow the man wasn’t removed from the flight
- After takeoff, a flight attendant once again asked the man to wear a mask, but he refused
- A flight attendant then threatened to issue the man an official warning if he didn’t cooperate
- The man told the flight attendant to go ahead, and at this point the man started “abusing” flight attendants and other passengers
- The captain then decided to divert the plane to kick off the unruly passenger
- This caused the plane to arrive at Kansai Airport over two hours late
Airline officials are planning on seeking 500,000 JPY (~4,700 USD) in compensation from the man for the trouble and inconvenience caused.
Japan’s transport ministry said that this is the first time during the coronavirus pandemic that a flight has been diverted in the country over someone not wearing a mask.
Here’s a video of part of the alleged incident (if anyone can translate or provide details, that would be awesome):
Japan is one of the most orderly places in the world, and it’s somewhere that many people have worn masks long before coronavirus started. It’s a bit surprising to see an anti-masker “movement” like this in Japan, though I guess there will be people everywhere who are like that…
Also, I can’t fully get over how the crew handled this situation. So the flight was delayed by 45 minutes because this guy was being aggressive, refused to wear a mask, and accused others of slander, but then they still took off with him?! And then the flight was diverted because… his behavior didn’t change?