A fellow traveller shared a video of the altercation, which took place on an Allegiant Air service from Mesa-Phoenix, Arizona, to Provo, Utah.
In the footage, one man can be seen pulling another man’s hair, while surrounding passengers try to pull them off each other.
The younger man can be heard swearing, while a member of crew attempts to break up the pair before radioing for help.
According to fellow passenger Rylie Lansford, a baker who filmed the incident and posted it on Instagram, it all started when the man sitting behind her refused to wear a mask as he was already wearing a face shield.
When a flight attendant explained that he had to wear a covering over his nose and mouth, “he was not having it”, claimed Lansford in a follow-up video.
She also accused the man of being “rude” and “condescending” towards cabin crew who tried to explain the rules.
Meanwhile, Lansford alleges that the man sitting next to her started shouting at the passenger behind, saying, “It’s called Covid”, and the pair began “yelling at each other.”
She claimed that the man next to her was “drunk” and kept shouting that he needed to get home to see his mother, who was ill in a hospice.
“He would not stop swearing at everybody and threatening the guy behind him,” said Lansford, adding that he was goading the passenger who refused to wear a mask.
Both men started shouting that the other needed to be removed from the flight, according to Lansford, and eventually the flight attendants called for an external staff member to escort the maskless passenger off the plane.
When he stood up, “all hell broke loose”, claimed Lansford, with one of the men taking a swing at the other, prompting a physical fight.
“You get a glimpse of with what we deal with,” one of the flight attendants told Lansford, who added that the cabin crew were “patient” and “handled it really well”.
The police finally arrived and escorted the passenger who refused to wear a mask off the aircraft, while the other man was allowed to remain on the flight but moved to another seat.
“It was annoying, and I hope that everyone can just be nice to each other,” Lansford concluded in the video. “Wear a mask when you buy a plane ticket.”
An Allegiant Air spokesperson told The Independent: “On Saturday, 3 October, a passenger was removed from flight 607 with service from Mesa, Ariz. to Provo, Utah, for refusing to comply with our mask policy.
“While the passenger was being escorted off the plane, he had an altercation with another passenger. Law enforcement was called to assist.
“Allegiant requires all customers to wear a face covering over their nose and mouth at all times when traveling to help protect them and those around them. Face coverings are required throughout travel, including at the ticket counter and in the gate area, as well as during flight. Face coverings must be made of a solid material, fully cover the mouth and nose, fit snugly against the face, and be secured under the chin.
“Prohibited coverings include those with exhalation valves, holes (such as lace or mesh), neck gaiters, and bandanas. Face shields may be worn in addition to a face covering, but not as an alternative.”
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