Ouch: American Airlines’ Costly Mask Diversion

Ouch: American Airlines’ Costly Mask Diversion

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Since airlines and regulators started requiring passengers to wear masks on planes, we’ve seen a countless number of incidents related to mask compliance. Well, I think something that happened last night might just be one of the costliest mask incidents yet.

American flight to London returns to Miami

This incident involves American Airlines flight AA38 from Miami (MIA) to London (LHR) yesterday evening (Wednesday, January 19, 2022). The flight was operated by a Boeing 777-300ER, and had a total of 143 people onboard, including 129 passengers and 14 crew members.

The plane departed just slightly after its scheduled 7:40PM departure time. However, after takeoff a passenger allegedly refused to comply with the federal mask mandate, causing the flight to have to turn around.

Nearly 90 minutes after takeoff, the decision was made to return to Miami to offload the passenger. In the end, the plane was in the air for over 2hr40min, before landing back at its starting point.

The flight path for the AA38 diversion

Here’s how American Airlines described the incident in a statement:

“American Airlines flight 38 with service from Miami (MIA) to London (LHR) returned to MIA due to a disruptive customer refusing to comply with the federal mask requirement. The flight landed at MIA where local law enforcement met the aircraft. We thank our crew for their professionalism and apologize to our customers for the inconvenience.”

American’s flight status page suggests that the airline tried to reschedule the flight for 1AM, but I’m guessing the airline couldn’t find a crew to operate the flight (since the initial crew timed out).

AA38 flight status from last night

Can you imagine how much this diversion cost?

Typically airplane mask incidents happen either on the ground before departure, or police simply meet a flight upon arrival. Sometimes we see a diversion along the way to offload a passenger. But in this case a Boeing 777 operated a nearly three hour flight to nowhere due to a mask incident.

I can’t even imagine how much this cost American Airlines:

  • Roughly three hours of fuel were burned, which is significant (hopefully no fuel had to be dumped, which is sometimes necessary if a plane is over its maximum landing weight)
  • American had to pay the crew, and that’s not cheap (in these situations where a flight diverts and a crew times out, do we know if crews are paid for the scheduled block time, or just the hours flown?)
  • American had to rebook all of these passengers, and on top of that American’s flight from London to Miami was canceled today, so that’s a lot of passengers to rebook
This incident happened on a Boeing 777-300ER

How do situations like this happen?

Often when there are mask incidents there are videos that go viral of the situation, though in this case there aren’t many details about what happened. So I have two general thoughts here.

First of all, what was the passenger thinking? It’s one thing if you book a cheap domestic ticket and act up, because you didn’t actually invest that much (in terms of money and time) to take that flight. But traveling internationally takes a lot of effort. This passenger probably had to take a pre-travel COVID-19 test, probably had to fill out travel forms, etc.

Was the passenger being a jerk just because, or what would cause someone to act this way? “Hey, we’re about to turn a 777 around and go back to Miami if you don’t put your mask on” didn’t change this passenger’s perspective? If this situation is as it appears, I hope that this person gets charged, and has to foot the bill for the cost of this diversion.

Next, I obviously wasn’t on this flight, but I can’t help but wonder about the crew’s deescalation skills? It’s entirely possible that this passenger was just uncontrollable and the crew did everything right (maybe alcohol or other substances were involved). But there’s also no denying that some people in the airline industry are better than others when it comes to getting passengers to comply with instructions, especially if the passenger has an attitude.

Was this diversion really the only solution?

  • Did the crew do as good of a job as possible making this passenger aware of the consequences of his/her actions?
  • The flight was fairly empty with just 129 passengers, so wouldn’t it have been possible to simply isolate this person in a part of the cabin away from others?
  • This person could have been punished just as much for their actions upon arrival in the UK rather than returning to Miami

Like I said, I’m not suggesting the crew didn’t do a good job, I just think it’s an interesting general question. Of course the passenger should be held accountable and should be banned from flying American in the future.

But when you step back, there are lots of real life implications to airlines operating flights as scheduled. Some of the other passengers on that flight may have been traveling to visit a dying loved one, or the plane may have been carrying essential cargo that could save lives. Never mind the cost and environmental implications of operating a flight to nowhere.

Is there any other way this situation could have been handled?

Bottom line

Last night’s American Airlines flight from Miami to London returned to Miami over a mask compliance incident. In the end, the airline operated a nearly three hour flight to nowhere, before the flight was eventually canceled. I don’t understand what could possess a passenger to act this way. Hopefully this person is held responsible.

Were any OMAAT readers on this flight, and can chime in on what exactly unfolded? Do you think diverting is always the right solution in cases like this, or is this an overreaction?

Conversations (115)
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  1. Zuzu Guest

    What are the chances that arrogant passenger had the virus? The mask in reality does very little to stop the virus spread. Was it worth it?

    1. Tracy Guest

      So just allow them to break federal law?? And be verbally and physically abusive?? Sounds like I wouldn’t want you on flight either.

  2. Belinda Guest

    Look for the mask mandates to end. Causing too much disruption.

  3. Melissa Heuser Guest

    *OPINION*
    This is my opinion about what is currently happening as to the lady recently on the airplane to from Miami to London and the plane had to turn around with all of the passengers aboard.
    Unfortunately due the this pandemic there are many people at their breaking point, it’s getting to be to much of a strain on their mental, physical, and emotional health to continue this any longer. It’s not that...

    *OPINION*
    This is my opinion about what is currently happening as to the lady recently on the airplane to from Miami to London and the plane had to turn around with all of the passengers aboard.
    Unfortunately due the this pandemic there are many people at their breaking point, it’s getting to be to much of a strain on their mental, physical, and emotional health to continue this any longer. It’s not that people don’t want to behave or obey, many of them are being triggered and are experiencing a severe mental breakdown and I’m sorry to those who do not understand. People are being laid off from work, missing work, can’t bring their kids to school, then it’s ok bring the kids to school/day care but take tests get vaccinated, can’t socialize, maybe socialize a little, then it’s nope can’t go out with loved ones, can’t go shopping, oh wait that’s back on, fly with masks, then it’s fly without masks, then it’s back to fly with masks again, it’s vaccines and boosted are mandatory oops not I mean now required, neighbors aren’t being neighborly, and no one cares about being our brothers and sisters keeper any longer. Many companies, corporations, entities and elitist don’t care about all the damage this provocation is having on all of us as humanity and all over the world.
    Has anyone ever had an abusive parent or an abusive childhood? How about an abusive spouse or significant other?
    Many of these same behaviors are being used by our governments, businesses, corporations, communities and the like that are taking this similar approach and behavior of force and abuse that is being pushed and evoked on all of us and many people are being triggered by all this trauma and living in this constant fight or flight response. Every single one of us as a human being has some kind of a breaking point.
    All counselors, therapists, and mental health centers know this. This is how physiological warfare is played. Also there are many different biological acts of warfare going on as well as weather manipulation and weather engineering. (All of this has already been reported, recorded, and fact checked)
    We are all connected, and we are all going through this pandemic in different behaviors and reactions but are dealing with it in our individual and diverse ways but nonetheless we are all connected in our humanity. Make absolutely NO MISTAKE about it, at this point this is definitely Crimes Against Humanity and it’s beginning to be clearly evident that is going on and we all are somehow just trying to get to the end of this global health situation in one way or another.
    Love and prayers for all.
    Yeah I think we all could use a mental health day away from all this. Praise Jesus.
    Melissa Ann Davidson Heuser
    “Out of The Ashes M.H.” 2022

    1. dee Guest

      good overview. Thank You

  4. Ted Guest

    The passenger was not even arrested by local law enforcement in Miami as they do not believe she broke the law (it’s a mandate not a law). She was banned from American however.

    The plane should have continued to London and after the flight banned her. No reason to divert back to Miami. With a plane that empty they could have reseated her, then dealt with in London.

    Flight attendants are on power trips,...

    The passenger was not even arrested by local law enforcement in Miami as they do not believe she broke the law (it’s a mandate not a law). She was banned from American however.

    The plane should have continued to London and after the flight banned her. No reason to divert back to Miami. With a plane that empty they could have reseated her, then dealt with in London.

    Flight attendants are on power trips, this is a mandate not a law and the airline has every right to ban/remove the passenger. But no reason to turn around and inconvenience the rest to do so.

    No the passenger should not have to repay the bill for diversion, the flight attendant handled poorly. I’m not saying if masks should be worn or not. But it’s a federal mandate and American Airlines mandate and you gotta wear one on the plane, the passenger was wrong but not worth of a diversion

  5. Keith Guest

    Too bad the other passengers didn't beat the crap out of this person for intentionally violating a known regulation, at their expense. Find it hard to believe the other 128 passengers were sitting on their hands, as their respective journey plans get all messed up.

  6. Andy Guest

    … and what about the cost of all the innocent other passengers (e.g. tour arrangements, hotel bookings, business contracts)?

  7. CoffeeTeaOrYouCantAffordMe Guest

    Flight attendant here with a ULCC. To answer your question, most likely the crew would be paid for the entire flight, as airlines have this thing called “sked or better”. Which is if you fly, you’re paid the scheduled time or better. No matter if you divert, the flight gets cancelled last minute, or even if there is strong winds.

  8. Mark Guest

    I totally agree with all of the above comments. AA did the right thing. Hold firm on misbehaving pax, enough of this crap. Throw them in jail for a minimum of 6 months and pay 100% of all fees associated with the diversion.

    1. Anthony Guest

      Except she did not even get arrested !
      Which is the proof she "only" disagreed to wear the mask, she was not posing a real threat.
      AA definitely overreacted on this one, at the expense of all other passengers; I was one of them and sitting just behind this "unruly" passenger.

  9. Morgan Gold

    This woman should be sent to jail for several years

  10. CMorgan Guest

    I am amazed at the stupidity of some of the commentators here. I am fully vaccinated and do comply with all of the regulations, but I am intelligent enough to know that wearing or not wearing a cloth mask in FC on an International flight means nothing. Who are we trying to protect? Any adult who wants to get vaccinated can. You don’t turn around a plane and inconvenience the rest of the passengers period!...

    I am amazed at the stupidity of some of the commentators here. I am fully vaccinated and do comply with all of the regulations, but I am intelligent enough to know that wearing or not wearing a cloth mask in FC on an International flight means nothing. Who are we trying to protect? Any adult who wants to get vaccinated can. You don’t turn around a plane and inconvenience the rest of the passengers period! The plane could have been met by law enforcement in the UK and the passenger dealt with at that time. This was not a safety issue just another overreaction by airline employees who appear to have little common sense!

    1. Saint82 Guest

      Please. The person knew the requirements when they got aboard. Lock her up!

    2. Anthony Guest

      Sure ! Upon arrival...

  11. Masks for the idiots Guest

    They should sue her for every penny until she wants to never fly again. Which is fair because sne should be banned by every major airline. What an idiot.

  12. Amy Fischer Guest

    We can’t say what happened until we get independent eye witness testimony. I do know that flight attendants are known to abuse their power over flight safety. All mask escalations are an abuse of power as not wearing a mask does not jeopardize the safe operations of the plane. It’s ridiculous. Flight attendants are known to instigate situations and accuse passengers of bad behavior when a passenger complains about poor service or asserts his or...

    We can’t say what happened until we get independent eye witness testimony. I do know that flight attendants are known to abuse their power over flight safety. All mask escalations are an abuse of power as not wearing a mask does not jeopardize the safe operations of the plane. It’s ridiculous. Flight attendants are known to instigate situations and accuse passengers of bad behavior when a passenger complains about poor service or asserts his or her rights. This is America. Your rights don’t just go out the window because a flight attendant abuses you.

    Pilots will do as cops do and back up their brothers and sisters.

    Some people wear a mask for short durations or don’t wear a mask regularly. When they go on a plane, they have no idea how much incompatible it is with them. I don’t blame these people.

    The flight attendants who escalated and instigated an issue over a mask and the pilots should pay for all the costs and be banned from flying as crew or passengers for life. Unless independent witness testimony says the woman committed serious abuses, I assume anything that transpired is because flight attendants choose to be bullies.

    Federally regulation commercial Interstate and international air transport is a human right. No one should be banned for life on an airline in which no confirmed incident occurred. There are severe barriers to entry for commercial service.

    1. Masks for idiots Guest

      Have you ever been to Miami? Guarantee the passenger who caused an issue was the idiot.

    2. CMorgan Guest

      Thanks for posting some ideas that make common sense.

    3. Eskimo Guest

      I'm going to say that masks can be a medical safety depending on who you ask.

      But if a junkie high on drugs, teasing people with a single feather is a safety concern.

      Then anything is possible for these authoritarian crew.

      That being said, @Amy Fischer, Maybe you're going a bit too far?
      Federally regulation commercial Interstate and international air transport is a human right???
      human rights???
      So the next time they...

      I'm going to say that masks can be a medical safety depending on who you ask.

      But if a junkie high on drugs, teasing people with a single feather is a safety concern.

      Then anything is possible for these authoritarian crew.

      That being said, @Amy Fischer, Maybe you're going a bit too far?
      Federally regulation commercial Interstate and international air transport is a human right???
      human rights???
      So the next time they bump me off my international flight, I can take the airline to the UN human rights tribunal?

  13. J Boyer Guest

    Unless she was in serious medical distress I guarantee she would have regretted boarding that flight. A half hour sitting next to me and they would have her in a straight jacket. " Here's Johnny "

  14. Louise W Guest

    Fine her heavily & ban her from all airlines for at least a year. She planned this absurd tantrum. How did she enter the airport & board the plane? Duh...She wore a mask. Tired of these entitled adult brats..

  15. Fed UP Guest

    First off, the flight started in Miami, the home to hotheads... The plane should have diverted to JFK, drop the passenger off, and continue on its way.

  16. Rob K Guest

    Enough already! Bravo to AA for taking action. These morons have to be dealt with, thankful for AA to do what they did in this situation. Fine her, heavily, and sue her for the diversion cost. Then ban her from all airlines. The stronger we deal with these lunatics this in-flight insanity will end

    1. Anthony Guest

      Sure ! This could have been done upon arrival in London though, which would have avoided "inconveniencing" all the other passengers.
      It is not like she was a threat to the flight security.

  17. mxkupc Member

    Gate agents on a power trip have been replaced by FAs on a power trip. I’ve seen it on so so many flights. If they don’t want to do beverage service maybe they can replace that training with some around managing situations like this. It is absurd to let one passenger cause so much loss.

    1. Bob Guest

      But a passenger on a power trip you casually ignore.

    2. CMorgan Guest

      You said it! Absurd!

  18. Randy Gold

    NY Times report the woman was in her 40's and Miami police spokeswoman said she was not arrested. Was she a celeb?

  19. Randy Gold

    Seems like if this was a woman, she could have been overtaken and taped to her seat for the flight.
    But wow - I think the other 128 passengers could potentially sue this person.

    Not sure why her name is not made public. Seems like it eventually if she was arrested.

  20. Michael Guest

    Too bad there is not a way to offload passengers mid-way. A life raft, parachute and a bag of nuts should hold them over waiting for a fishing or cargo ship to sail by.

    As a very heavy flier, I am fine with the masks - I've spent many overnights in business class wearing them while sleeping the past two years. Funny thing is that I used to get a cold about once a quarter flying for work world wide, now I never catch one.

  21. Schrap Guest

    I feel for all the passengers who were clearly disrupted by this. If we were passengers on this flight and had plans in London for either another connecting flight or trip and now all those have been cancelled or lost -- outside of simply rebooking and sucking up the costs- -do we have any recourse for this? I mean it's not like a mechanical or weather failure, this is initiated by a persons behavior. Does...

    I feel for all the passengers who were clearly disrupted by this. If we were passengers on this flight and had plans in London for either another connecting flight or trip and now all those have been cancelled or lost -- outside of simply rebooking and sucking up the costs- -do we have any recourse for this? I mean it's not like a mechanical or weather failure, this is initiated by a persons behavior. Does Trip Interruption or Cancellation cover this? Do we have a path or mechanism to sue or seek compensation? like can we file a claim against HER (not the airline)?
    knock on wood I've never had a missed flight or delayed flight due to passenger behavior -- just wondering 'what if"

  22. CondorHawk0007 Guest

    The disruptive customer should pay for all incurred costs, such as fuel, as well as any penalties. Alternatively, an escape pod or golden parachute might have been utilized.

  23. RDS Guest

    A lot of the typical comments that you see on your local news facebook page.

    The bottom line is we dont know what led to this passenger throwing objects, but that is a level above being agitated over a mask. At that point, any moral high ground you thought you might have is completely gone.

    I do things I dont "want" to do all the time. People need to suck it up and stop...

    A lot of the typical comments that you see on your local news facebook page.

    The bottom line is we dont know what led to this passenger throwing objects, but that is a level above being agitated over a mask. At that point, any moral high ground you thought you might have is completely gone.

    I do things I dont "want" to do all the time. People need to suck it up and stop pretending they are personally that important. If you dont want to wear a mask, dont fly. As another commenter points out, many of these people throw the word snowflake around when they are just as precious themselves.

  24. Mark Guest

    Mask are stupid. I do not approve of abusing the crew, but anyone who is afraid of getting covid should stay home. They have not right to infringe on the rights of other

    1. Atran503 New Member

      If you're going to drop your (medically misaligned) opinions, you might as well use correct grammar. My 3 year old nephew has more coherent sentences.

    2. Rob K Guest

      Are you kidding? You are so far off base it's not even funny. Put your mask on very tight, around your neck. Very very tight. It's people like you who contribute to this foolishness.

    3. diana Guest

      Nothing says infringing the rights of others like having them turn the whole freaking plane around... you really thought you did something with that comment huh?? Looks like its you and the people who think like you that are going to be on the no fly list. so maybe staying home is good advice for you.

    4. Ray Gold

      Actually the airline does have the right. They proved it. Now please put the keyboard away and eat your peas before mommy comes home from work.

  25. Joe Schmoe Guest

    The UK government eliminated ALL mandates yesterday including masks, vaccinations and vaccination passports. Perhaps the passenger felt that they should not be forced to wear a mask since the flight was already over international waters well outside of US airspace and it was heading to the UK where there are no longer any mask or vaccination mandates. Sad the the US is no longer the world leader in taking the most appropriate steps for health....

    The UK government eliminated ALL mandates yesterday including masks, vaccinations and vaccination passports. Perhaps the passenger felt that they should not be forced to wear a mask since the flight was already over international waters well outside of US airspace and it was heading to the UK where there are no longer any mask or vaccination mandates. Sad the the US is no longer the world leader in taking the most appropriate steps for health. Masks and vaccines do not work.

    1. Al Guest

      Eh? Of course vaccines work, that's why they're able to relax the restrictions. You can argue if too fast or not, but to say vaccines don't work is ludicrous. Tell it to the unvaccinated patients that died...

    2. Icarus Guest

      Vaccines do work. It’s proven Polio, smallpox .. the list goes on. Stop speaking c—. It also mentions masks are mandatory at all stages of booking, in the airport and via announcements. The restrictions in the U.K. also end on 27th. There should be a ban on all covidiots and conspiracy theorists from travelling.

    3. Saint82 Guest

      That’s why almost all who are hospitalized and dying are the unvaccinated

  26. GenSki Guest

    The culprit could have totally caused a problem and been completely his/her fault. I don't doubt that. But, yes I think some airline staff seem to take it to the next level, to make sure everyone follows the "mask" rule (which we all know is useless at best with cloth masks). I don't like masks but I wear them on airplanes and don't cause a fuss. But some crew almost look for a problem. If...

    The culprit could have totally caused a problem and been completely his/her fault. I don't doubt that. But, yes I think some airline staff seem to take it to the next level, to make sure everyone follows the "mask" rule (which we all know is useless at best with cloth masks). I don't like masks but I wear them on airplanes and don't cause a fuss. But some crew almost look for a problem. If it's minor, they should let it go and don't harass the customers. If a crew member is that scared of the virus and thinks that masks on hundreds of packed people will save them, then they should probably look for a different line of work. Let's not ignore the fact that everyone still eats & drinks maskless for quite a while on planes - especially international flights.

    For example a few weeks ago my cousin who is the nicest guy in the world, and has no problem wearing a mask, was on a domestic United flight with his 4 kids. They almost got tossed off because his 3-year-old's mask kept slipping under her nose. The hilarious part was while the two United Airlines "bouncers" came to threaten to physically drag his family off the plane, one of them had his mask under his nose doing the same thing as my cousins' 3-year-old. The crew member did not like that when my cousin pointed it out...

    The irrational, dogmatic, authoritarianism of ordinary citizens (in this case, commercial airline flight attendants) is shocking and disgusting at times. My 2 cents.

    1. RBluebonnet Guest

      I agree. I was on an American flight recently, there was a family sitting behind me, the kids had their masks off for much of time, and the crew didn't say anything. Even I didn't put my mask back on immediately after finishing my Dr Pepper, but waited until the crew came by to pick up trash. I understand the general desire to comply with federal rules and make sure passengers are wearing masks, but...

      I agree. I was on an American flight recently, there was a family sitting behind me, the kids had their masks off for much of time, and the crew didn't say anything. Even I didn't put my mask back on immediately after finishing my Dr Pepper, but waited until the crew came by to pick up trash. I understand the general desire to comply with federal rules and make sure passengers are wearing masks, but escalating it too much causes more problems than it solves. The way the crew on my flight responded is the right way, IMO.

      It's also technically a violation of federal law to get up and use the bathroom when the seatbelt sign is on, but I still do it sometimes as do many other passengers. I've never seen a crewmember threaten to turn the plane around or ban someone over that.

  27. Pedro Paulo Guest

    Nah.
    The flight captain used the first excuse he found to go back to Miami and spend a few more days with his Russian girlfriend.

  28. Reno Joe Guest

    Throwing things at crew members? Jail time plus FAA ban for life.

    What parents raised this person?

    1. Ray Gold

      More appropriately: "didn't raise". Completely agree with you.

    2. Stefan Guest

      That was my first thought. BDA – and combined with putting her on a worldwide no-fly list.

  29. Eskimo Guest

    Couldn't AA just divert and offload Karen in BDA?
    It looks like their position is somewhere middle in between.

    1. askmrlee Guest

      Crew time out concerns, availability of AA support staff to deal with the situation would be very limited in BDA. This was not a mechanical or medical emergency situation requiring immediate landing.

  30. Neil Guest

    Just curious – would the rebooked passengers be due compensation under the UK’s equivalent to EU 261? Or is the diversion considered a factor outside the airline’s control?

    1. Icarus Guest

      No. As it’s not an eu carrier and the departure was from the USA. If it were then still no as it’s passenger disruption

  31. RF Diamond

    Send the anti-masker the bill and add them to the no-fly list.

  32. RG Guest

    How about the airlines grow a set and tell the federal government that masks on planes serve no real purpose because of the high quality air filtration systems on board. With the UK just yesterday eliminating their mask mandate due to the endemic nature of the former pandemic, why the continuing insistence on an unwarranted mask mandate. People are fed up. Was this guy's actions acceptable...no...but neither is continuing to punish every traveler with such...

    How about the airlines grow a set and tell the federal government that masks on planes serve no real purpose because of the high quality air filtration systems on board. With the UK just yesterday eliminating their mask mandate due to the endemic nature of the former pandemic, why the continuing insistence on an unwarranted mask mandate. People are fed up. Was this guy's actions acceptable...no...but neither is continuing to punish every traveler with such unnecessary and overreaching government action.

    1. Carm Guest

      If the air filtration systems is so good why not bring back smoking on flights?

    2. Reed Guest

      They aren’t good enough to filter out smoke… and neither are fabric or paper masks that most people still wear. If you can still smell smoke (or jet fuel, or coffee, or the smelly food someone near you is eating onboard), then you’re smelling aerosols and inhaling viruses too. True respirator fit testing (as healthcare workers like my husband do) involves testing whether the wearer can detect smells released into a hood or chamber while...

      They aren’t good enough to filter out smoke… and neither are fabric or paper masks that most people still wear. If you can still smell smoke (or jet fuel, or coffee, or the smelly food someone near you is eating onboard), then you’re smelling aerosols and inhaling viruses too. True respirator fit testing (as healthcare workers like my husband do) involves testing whether the wearer can detect smells released into a hood or chamber while wearing the mask.

      The thing is, truly well-sealed N-95 masks are pretty uncomfortable. Not impossible, for sure, but certainly not pleasant to wear for many hours at a time.

      Cloth and “surgical” (the flat disposable blue masks) people wear on planes these days have virtually no useful effect against aerosols. Sure, they protect from droplets - but I see so many people lower the mask to sneeze and cough! Not to mention… eat and drink.

      Airplanes are pretty low-spread zones mostly because people don’t actually talk that much, and people don’t generally sit face-to-face where droplets and spittle can fly out of your mouth and into someone else’s nose (as they can in restaurants). As for aerosol transmission on planes, the cabin air filtration and air exchange is quite good, and likely does do a lot more to protect people than masks do.

    3. George Romey Guest

      I agree. I look at it as no different than the absurd and useless TSA security dog and pony show. That being said, you know this going in so comply or don't fly. It's why I refuse to fly long haul. No way I'm going to try to sleep with a mask on. Unfortunately not until President DeSantis takes office will we see the silly and useless mask mandate go away.

  33. Sel, D. Guest

    Duct tape them to a seat in the back of the half full plane. Why divert? It’s insanity. Also, about half the time an FA reminds someone to put their mask on it’s in a very condescending mother-like tone.

    1. Mike Tipton Guest

      Such an individual is acting like a child!

    2. HkCaGu Guest

      It's a long flight remaining. She's going to wet her seat and render the whole cabin unusable for the return.

    3. cbpitt Guest

      Zip her into a body bag - they’ll hold most fluids.

  34. RJ Guest

    The people pretending like this lady isn't in the wrong and that the crew is in the wrong because of things they've made up about mask mandates so they can feel like the victim are just the absolute peak of cowardice. Go die alone instead of pretending like a public health emergency means you can throw an awkward tantrum about the burdens of having to wear a mask.

    1. John Guest

      @RJ. That pax wrong for not complying AND having a tantrum. But you're actually much much worse for even wishing death on fellow human beings! What kind of parents raise you to think like that? Hopefully you're doing better job than your mom and dad did on you......just keeping it real.

    2. cbpitt Guest

      Better that one person die alone than possibly infect others and take them out too.

    3. John Guest

      You wanna go first? Yeah.....I didn't think so.

  35. Tim Dunn Diamond

    Lucky covers AA at MIA like Gary Leff covers AUS.

    Every airline has difficult passengers but AA seems to have a harder time resolving conflict w/ its passengers - or at least their media followers amplify the noise that goes on at AA.

    The aircraft was less than half full. A combative passenger throwing things is not something you want to deal w/ esp. when flying over open ocean but you have to wonder...

    Lucky covers AA at MIA like Gary Leff covers AUS.

    Every airline has difficult passengers but AA seems to have a harder time resolving conflict w/ its passengers - or at least their media followers amplify the noise that goes on at AA.

    The aircraft was less than half full. A combative passenger throwing things is not something you want to deal w/ esp. when flying over open ocean but you have to wonder if the confrontation was really necessary esp. for a first class passenger where there was a whole lot of room. Just arrest the person in London and ban them from AA and other airlines. It's a long boat ride back to Florida.

    More and more studies are showing and experts are admitting that cloth masks - as airline passengers are allowed to wear - do virtually nothing in even slowing the movement of the covid virus and certainly not omicron. The mask mandate has created a level of hostility that has produced no health benefits. Airplane cabins are safe and United went to the trouble to prove it early in the pandemic.

    the UK and other European countries are walking away from their domestic covid protocols that have been in place for 2 years. You gotta think that the same trend will continue around the world and democratic countries that don't adapt will probably see more, not less, bad customer behavior.

    1. Giovanna Member

      Not quite sure about other European countries, but Italy and Austria actually are strengthening their COVID protocols!

  36. Donna Diamond

    Ban for Life across all airlines along with compensation for the diversion. And criminal penalties. This has to stop!

  37. airbusboy Guest

    Regarding the crew pay, the pilots would be paid for the entire trip, regardless of whether or not the trip was flown. Add that to perhaps the extra section flown today if American decided to fly the plane today re-crewed.

  38. Icarus Guest

    Passengers refuse to wear masks in flight frequently, albeit a minority. The issue apparently her reaction. Therefore she can be prosecuted for failing to follow crew instructions, violence and any costs related to the disruption.

    1. Chris Guest

      I am not exactly strongly pro-mask, but the passenger here is obviously an idiot. Equally, the crew really should have just completely ignored her and got on with the flight (and, if necessary, had the police meet the plane in London). It is absurd that this was allowed to get so out of hand.

      Of course, ironically, the fact that the incident doubtless resulted in a lot of shouting and crew having to speak...

      I am not exactly strongly pro-mask, but the passenger here is obviously an idiot. Equally, the crew really should have just completely ignored her and got on with the flight (and, if necessary, had the police meet the plane in London). It is absurd that this was allowed to get so out of hand.

      Of course, ironically, the fact that the incident doubtless resulted in a lot of shouting and crew having to speak to the passenger will also have made the Covid risk much worse than just ignoring the passenger… Complete madness.

  39. PHLPHLYER Guest

    The crew is always paid for the scheduled block time of the flight (or more if it happens to be longer than planned. Never less though.

  40. Max Guest

    This is yet another proof of the negative consequences of mask mandates. These authoritarian measures and mandates must end immediately.

    1. Icarus Guest

      The vast majority comply and are respectful. A minority of morons don’t

    2. RJ Guest

      Republicans: I cannot believe liberals protest over things as stupid as racial equality, political corruption and ridiculous economic inbalances. We should RUN OVER anyone who protests for such stupid reasons.

      Also Republicans: Now's my time to finally have a legitimate protest! I'll take off my mask on an international flight and ruin everyone's day!! If there are any consequences I'll pretend I'm basically in Auschwitz.

    3. Ralph4878 Guest

      @ RJ - nailed it. Funny how they were so obsessed with calling folks "snowflakes" for four years and now...tantrums any and every time others ask to have their health and humanity respected.

  41. MikeL1986 Guest

    Obviously, I think it's always important to follow the rules of the flight crew in every situation and I do so as a passenger. That being said, I can understand turning the plane around if the passenger was acting violent/combative toward flight crew or other pax. If it was truly just 1 person on a massive, half full 777 not wearing a mask, I think turning the plane around and cancelling the flight and inconveniencing...

    Obviously, I think it's always important to follow the rules of the flight crew in every situation and I do so as a passenger. That being said, I can understand turning the plane around if the passenger was acting violent/combative toward flight crew or other pax. If it was truly just 1 person on a massive, half full 777 not wearing a mask, I think turning the plane around and cancelling the flight and inconveniencing all those people is a little ridiculous. Is one person not wearing a mask really that big of a deal? I would imagine on TATL flights where food and booze is served, a lot of pax probably have masks off for large portions of the flight anyway.

  42. Trey Guest

    Another airplane/airport incident with the origin/destination to/from MIA. Either Lucky's mostly posting incidents from MIA because he's based outta there or it's just where the action is!

  43. Luke Guest

    I'll admit a month ago on AA flight from JFK to Delhi I slept through much of the flight and while covering my face with the blanket didnt have mask on, for probably at least 8 hours of the flight without getting caught. But then again perhaps being fully covered by the blanket was in a way a "mask" too!

    Sick of these face diapers that I avoid much as possible these days unless forced (Not exactly scared of omiCON after having vaccines up to the booster).

    1. shoeguy Guest

      That makes you part of the problem, not the solution. This isn't about individual rights being subjected to mandates. This is about consideration for others around you who, even if fully vaccinated and boosted may still face risks with this virus and have no choice but to travel for one reason or another. Sick of wearing masks? We all are, but they work when used properly.

    2. Jeffrey Chang Guest

      "This is about consideration for others around you who, even if fully vaccinated and boosted may still face risks with this virus and have no choice but to travel for one reason or another."

      Those with immune system issues or those that are elderly will always exist. They will be susceptible to pathogens, colds, and flu's a normal person could fight off but could but them in the hospital or the grave. By appealing to...

      "This is about consideration for others around you who, even if fully vaccinated and boosted may still face risks with this virus and have no choice but to travel for one reason or another."

      Those with immune system issues or those that are elderly will always exist. They will be susceptible to pathogens, colds, and flu's a normal person could fight off but could but them in the hospital or the grave. By appealing to such a group, it requires the adoption of masking forever unless you concede that the group you reference are not worth of protection.

    3. MikeL1986 Guest

      @Jeffrey Chang

      I'm with you on that. The same people that are at high risk from Covid are the same people who are at high risk from everything else. Somehow humanity has survived this far without masks. Not to mention that recently, a scientist was quoted as saying that with Omicron, anything less than a well fitted N95 mask is basically just a decoration at this point.

    4. John Glowicki Guest

      You’re an ass!

    5. Luke Guest

      @John and shoeguy, stay in your basement in SF! Let the "a**" such as me keep to themselves in states like TX & FL with low masking where fyi the rate of Omicron cases has been consistantly similar across all states, regardless of rules decided by the whims of who is governing!

      Everyone has their own opinion on what is safe at this point, guy across the road from me was wearing a mask while shoveling his driveway alone this morning!

  44. Kevin Guest

    Usually the crews are guaranteed (paid) for the trip as if they flew MIALHRMIA. It is possible they could be reassigned another trip within the original trip dates.

  45. Santastico Guest

    Let me guess!! She didn't want to wear a cloth mask she bought at Etsy because she knows it is useless as many doctors called them "face ornaments". And by looking at the map, that diversion was not so bad, it was just a "minor incursion."

  46. Eric Guest

    Time to get rid of the mask mandate. London already got rid of it. We know it doesn't work.

  47. Alex Guest

    “How do situations like this happen?”

    Answer: Selfish a**holes refuse to follow the law and perform a simple task that helps protect themselves and the people around them.

    1. Bobo Bolinski Guest

      Bingo.

      Hey, it's Florida, land of "Florida Man" (and Florida Woman"), deep red Trumpistan. Of course.

  48. Jeffrey Chang Guest

    "This passenger probably had to take a pre-travel COVID-19 test, probably had to fill out travel forms, etc."

    If they were COVID negative prior to the flight why is the mask mandate being enforced? If the risk of COVID is so great from a COVID - individual why even allow food and beverage other than water. Obviously, this risk is too high in all cabin and the only reasonable solutions are eliminating the mask requirement...

    "This passenger probably had to take a pre-travel COVID-19 test, probably had to fill out travel forms, etc."

    If they were COVID negative prior to the flight why is the mask mandate being enforced? If the risk of COVID is so great from a COVID - individual why even allow food and beverage other than water. Obviously, this risk is too high in all cabin and the only reasonable solutions are eliminating the mask requirement or near total masking. Furthermore, with the CDC new guidance on cloth masks just make everyone wear N95 or higher. If they want to drink water they can do it through a straw,

    1. Textuality Member

      Pre-flight tests are no longer required for flights to the UK. Do AA mandate them anyway?

    2. Icarus Guest

      Airline doesn’t. It’s up to the country of destination Masks however are mandatory

    3. Eve Guest

      Because many test requirements are upto 72 hours and a lot can happen in that small period of time

    4. stogieguy7 Diamond

      I've been saying this for 2 years and have gotten posts removed for it from social media, but here goes: cloth masks do hardly any good. They add 5-10% protection at best. It's always been true, but only now is the CDC admitting it. And sending everyone an N95 mask shows an absurd ignorance of respiratory protections. For one thing, they're supposed to be single-use. You read that right: one use, then you need another....

      I've been saying this for 2 years and have gotten posts removed for it from social media, but here goes: cloth masks do hardly any good. They add 5-10% protection at best. It's always been true, but only now is the CDC admitting it. And sending everyone an N95 mask shows an absurd ignorance of respiratory protections. For one thing, they're supposed to be single-use. You read that right: one use, then you need another. Secondly, you're not supposed to wear them for more than 3-4 hours at a time because the extra filtration fatigues your respiratory system. Everyone will never be able to wear them as they were designed. The entire mask mandate concept is an absurd, autocratic edict made by people who are idiots.

    5. Steve Diamond

      100% agreed, i laugh when people wear a n95 mask loose fitting because it provides them no protection. Masks have to be skin tight to the point where it hurts your face to wear them, no one will do this. It is going to be such a joke when n95 masks are mandated and forced.

    6. Ralph4878 Guest

      @Stogieguy7 - the CDC never said that cloth masks were great: their guidance has always been pretty clear that something is better than nothing, but that 3-ply surgical masks are better than cloth masks or gaiters. I've used those, KN95s, and N95s since the start of the pandemic - no COVID, no flu, no colds, no allergies. I work in a school that has a mask mandate - even now, with Omicron, we've only had...

      @Stogieguy7 - the CDC never said that cloth masks were great: their guidance has always been pretty clear that something is better than nothing, but that 3-ply surgical masks are better than cloth masks or gaiters. I've used those, KN95s, and N95s since the start of the pandemic - no COVID, no flu, no colds, no allergies. I work in a school that has a mask mandate - even now, with Omicron, we've only had 49 cases out of 2,500+ students (Nursery through 12th Grade), faculty, and staff in rather tight quarters...minimum requirement is a 3-ply surgical. We're lucky to have the resources we do to outfit everyone...

  49. AA38 passenger Guest

    It was a female passenger in first class (perhaps a fine won’t make much different to her). It started over refusal to wear mask but escalated to verbal abuse and throwing items at crew and passengers. Pilot took the decision not to risk further incident or potential injury and took the shortest route back to Miami as opposed to continuing.

    1. RF Diamond

      Do tell more. Is there video?

    2. Ray Gold

      Please don't elaborate or show any video. The idiot has had enough publicity already. She doesn't need to be seen as well. My mind is quite capable of imagining the disruption based on the post.

  50. Chris Gold

    American Pilots will be compensated for the entire flight (and the return as I'm assuming they were scheduled for that as well). However, they may have been reassigned to something else, which would eat into that...

  51. AA38 passenger Guest

    It was a female passenger in first class. She was abusive and throwing things at crew and passengers. Pilot took it as a safety concern and took the plane back rather than continue on.

    1. JS Guest

      Thank you @AA38 passenger for the first-hand information. Undoubtedly, another entitled Karen from the sound of it. I hate Karen's!!

    2. JK Guest

      Why would you make the racist assumption she was Korean?

    3. JS Guest

      I didn't say Korean - I said "Karen". Get your eyes checked much??

    4. ps241 Guest

      How do you feel about people who put apostrophes where they don't belong?

      The plural of Karen is Karens.

      Do you really hate all Karens? Or do you hate this Karen's bad behavior?

    5. JS Guest

      @ps241 - punctuation correction taken. Thanks!
      No - I don't hate all Karens. My boss is named Karen and I like her. In this case, I don't like this Karen's bad behavior. :)

  52. shoeguy Guest

    That passenger who triggered the diversion should be, by court order, forced to shoulder the cost of the diversion in its entirety, banned for life from flying American Airlines, and put on a US no fly list. Enough already.

  53. NYGuy24 Gold

    This has nothing to do with the crew and everything to do with that passenger. Lets not try to suggest that somehow blame can shift to anyone else. Passenger knew they had to wear a mask and refused. Person should be arrested and prosecuted for causing such a disruption.

  54. Ryan Guest

    It seems there are two types of flight attendants these days - those who want to militantly enforce the mask requirement at all costs and those who do their best to enforce but ultimately don’t want to escalate the situation too far. This seems totally ridiculous that they would return to Miami over this relatively minor issue unless the passenger was totally disruptive and out of control. Agree that the more practical and sane approach...

    It seems there are two types of flight attendants these days - those who want to militantly enforce the mask requirement at all costs and those who do their best to enforce but ultimately don’t want to escalate the situation too far. This seems totally ridiculous that they would return to Miami over this relatively minor issue unless the passenger was totally disruptive and out of control. Agree that the more practical and sane approach would be to isolate the passenger and then have them arrested upon arrival in London. Somehow I have a feeling though that this escalated to something about power and control…

  55. bill Guest

    Alcohol changes the way people act, which might very well explain why someone was filling out forms and thinking about wearing a mask before the flight and not so interested in doing so when they got in the air.

  56. Alonzo Guest

    Again, who cares. Did the passengers on the flight jump him? If not, it's a non story. Just another day.

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

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AA38 passenger Guest

It was a female passenger in first class (perhaps a fine won’t make much different to her). It started over refusal to wear mask but escalated to verbal abuse and throwing items at crew and passengers. Pilot took the decision not to risk further incident or potential injury and took the shortest route back to Miami as opposed to continuing.

9
shoeguy Guest

That passenger who triggered the diversion should be, by court order, forced to shoulder the cost of the diversion in its entirety, banned for life from flying American Airlines, and put on a US no fly list. Enough already.

9
Donna Diamond

Ban for Life across all airlines along with compensation for the diversion. And criminal penalties. This has to stop!

8
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