A family of 20, including 10 children, was forced off an American Airlines flight for an insignificant violation of the company’s mask policy, a family member claims, insisting his face covering only briefly slipped under his nose.
As he boarded a flight to Salt Lake City International Airport with 19 relatives on Sunday, Scott Wilson said he was asked to repair his mask after it momentarily slipped on his face. Although he says he “dropped everything” and fixed the problem before he found his place, the family were soon approached by a gate agent.
“He said, Well, [the crew wants] you get off the plane,” Wilson told KSL of Salt Lake City. “I said, ‘What, they want us to get off the plane? Can we talk, can we have a conversation? No one even really spoke to us.
According to Wilson, the agent left for a short time, but returned saying that the flight crew captain insisted they be removed from the plane. “I’m sorry, it’s got to be the whole family,” the airline employee reportedly said.
The entire family, consisting of 10 adults and 10 children aged 3 to 13, were then forced to leave the plane – but not without a fight from the other passengers, Wilson said.
“There were actually a few families around us who stood up and were like, ‘That’s wrong, this guy is a jerk,’ he said, referring to the gatekeeper. “He was yelling at the others when they came too, and he was already mad at these guys. They didn’t do anything. “
A witness to the confrontation told KSL that the family’s withdrawal was not justified and that Wilson complied with the mask rule, adding that he had tried to speak to an airline employee to overturn the decision , but it was too late.
American Airlines discussed the incident in a statement, saying the family violated the company’s mask policies, which require the face shield to be “worn properly over the nose and mouth at all times. ”
“As per the procedure, the customers involved were asked to leave the plane before departure and the flight left for [Dallas-Fort Worth] shortly thereafter,” an airline spokesperson told a local branch of ‘ABC, adding that the passengers had been reminded of the rule.
“After having a conversation with the group, our team in [Salt Lake City] confirmed with clients that they agree to abide by the facial coverage policy if they have been changed on flights to their destination. They finally agreed and were booked to complete their trip ”. continued the spokesperson.
American Airlines imposed its mask policy in May last year, as the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic swept through the United States, but the company has since stepped up penalties for violators, announcing in June that it “May refuse future travel” for those caught with their masks down.