Well, I think this is the most 2020 story yet, as it involves Trump, masks, and being thrown off an airplane…
Thrown off Southwest flight for Trump support?
A Twitter user shared a video of an incident that allegedly occurred on a Southwest Airlines flight yesterday, and it’s going viral, with over 650K people having seen the video since last night.
The video shows the interaction a passenger had with a ground agent, who boarded the plane to remove him. The passenger was wearing a Trump hat and face mask and had a bag of nuts in one of his hands.
It’s not entirely clear how the passenger filming the video is connected to the man, though it does seem like they know one another. In the video we see the following:
- The woman filming jumps in repeatedly to comment, including saying “could you tell us the policy that prevents him from taking his mask off while he’s eating please?”
- She also claims “it’s the hat and the mask, it’s not the eating”
- The person she is traveling with says “I’ll go with him” when he’s removed from the plane
- The camera then points to the woman seated a row behind, who says “he put his mask on, he took it off when he started eating the nuts”
- Someone suggests this is a publicity stunt, to which this woman responds “it’s not a publicity stunt, it’s trying to make you follow policy, indiscriminately and impartially”
- In a video showing the passenger finally deplaning, you can hear another passenger say “please leave so we can leave,” to which the woman responds “yeah, and that’s what they said in Germany too, right, just comply, thank you very much for showing us who you are”
Here are the two videos:
My take on this situation
Let me start by acknowledging that this is a very divisive time politically, and I don’t think anyone who is being honest with themselves can claim to be fully unbiased. A few things stand out to me about the video, though, which I hope are details most of us can agree on:
- The man being kicked off the plane and the woman filming have almost a suspiciously good defense on video — he’s literally holding the bag of nuts, and she repeatedly asks if someone is not allowed to take off their mask to eat, which suggests they clearly know the rules; the woman even suggests she flies Southwest three times per week (who the heck is flying three times per week nowadays?)
- At the same time, the man being kicked off the plane doesn’t exactly seem to be great with masks — he takes it off, then briefly puts it over his mouth (but not nose), and then takes it off again, which doesn’t exactly support his claim of only taking it off to eat
- The video ends abruptly and then restarts, despite the fact that they’re not asked to stop filming, which makes me wonder why it stopped suddenly; was there something they were trying to not show?
- The gate agent references how they weren’t following the crew’s instructions, suggesting this wasn’t about eating as such
- The woman who was seated one row behind and speaks out in their favor specifically notes that “he put his mask on, he took it off when he started eating the nuts,” which suggests that his mask wasn’t just off while eating
I wasn’t there, so I don’t know what happened. However, based on the candid take of the woman behind (who is even speaking out on the passenger’s behalf), here’s my best guess as to what may have unfolded:
- The man wasn’t wearing a mask at some point (again, she said “he put his mask on”)
- The crew confronted him about it and gave him a warning (the gate agent said “you need to follow the crew’s instructions”)
- Then he took his mask off again at some point during boarding to eat, knowing the snacking exception (it’s anyone’s guess if this was just intended to push buttons or what)
- Perhaps the crew had different political opinions, and it wouldn’t surprise me if they perhaps weren’t as patient as they may have been with someone else
A man wearing a Trump hat and Trump face mask was kicked off a Southwest Airlines flight yesterday. If the passenger’s version of the story is to be believed, he simply briefly removed his mask to eat some nuts, and was then kicked off without a warning.
It’s anyone’s guess if that’s the real story, though. We don’t have the other side of the story, though there are a few details that make me wonder what else unfolded…
What do you make of this Southwest Airlines situation?