We’ve seen airlines kick quite a few passengers off planes over refusal to follow mask policies. However, this might be the first situation I’ve seen where someone was kicked off a plane for telling someone else — and specifically, a flight attendant — to wear a mask.
Surprising reason man was kicked off Allegiant flight
Yesterday morning a man was kicked off an Allegiant Air flight from Punta Gorda for being “disruptive.” What was he doing to be disruptive? Asking a flight attendant to put on a face mask, allegedly.
According to what we know, the flight attendant lowered her mask during the safety demonstration to speak into the PA, and the man repeatedly interrupted the safety demonstration to tell the flight attendant to put it back on.
At that point the flight attendant told the man he had to leave the aircraft, and warned that law enforcement would be called if he didn’t get off voluntarily.
There were a couple of videos of the incident, one of which has since been deleted. It seems that in general others sided with the passenger confronting the flight attendant:
- Several passengers express frustration over him being removed
- Another man can be heard saying “Allegiant has their freaking policy, you’re supposed to be wearing a f*cking mask to begin with”
- A woman can be heard saying “this is not right,” to which the flight attendant responds “I’m just doing what I’m supposed to do”
- As the passenger gets off the plane he encourages others to come off with him, and he also makes one last plea to the captain to talk to him, saying “I just asked someone to put on their face mask, that’s all I did”
- Rather than the clapping you usually see when people are kicked off planes, here there are sighs
Here’s one of the videos of the man leaving the plane:
This old guy was removed from the plane on allegiant Airlines this morning from Punta Gorda Florida pic.twitter.com/I1X5T2BKOr
— Patrick (@peter61809160) September 7, 2020
Allegiant Air’s statement about this incident
As an Allegiant Air spokesperson describes the situation:
“The passenger was removed for repeatedly disrupting the pre-flight safety briefing which includes reiteration of our inflight face-covering policy. The flight attendant giving the safety briefing lowered their mask for speaking into the PA so the briefing could be understood.”
It’s worth noting that Allegiant’s published policy is that “all crew members are required to wear a face covering at all times and gloves during inflight service.”
My take on this Allegiant Air mask drama
People will be shocked to hear that I have some opinions on this. 😉 In no particular order:
- I don’t understand why some people think that they have to lower their face mask to speak; I see this everywhere, and it’s just so silly
- Even if the flight attendant was only lowering her mask to make an announcement, flight attendants should be setting the example for passengers, and that includes flight attendants keeping on masks at all times, in line with Allegiant’s policy
- Flight attendants should be looking to deescalate situations, so it’s kind of disappointing the flight attendant wasn’t capable of resolving this situation without kicking someone off
- I don’t understand Allegiant’s defense of this flight attendant, making it sound like it’s okay to remove your mask when speaking, in violation of its published policy; does that also apply when providing service throughout the flight?
Now, that being said:
- We don’t know exactly how the passenger confronted the flight attendant, and repeatedly interrupting the safety demonstration probably isn’t the way to go about things
- At the same time, most people onboard sided with this passenger, which suggests he wasn’t being overly confrontational
For what it’s worth, Allegiant was the last major US airline to introduce a mandatory face mask policy. I don’t think that’s a coincidence — the airline does tend to have different demographic than most other airlines.
So in many ways it’s surprising that it was an Allegiant flight where a passenger was confronting a flight attendant over this.
Allegiant Air has to my knowledge become the first airline to kick someone off for asking someone else to wear a mask. While the guy may not have taken the right approach to confronting the flight attendant, other passengers seem to have agreed with him, and there’s also no reason you should have to lower your mask to make an announcement.