The American Airlines passenger was restrained by police and escorted off the Dallas-bound plane before it departed Louis Armstrong International Airport in New Orleans on 23 July.
“I’ve never seen anything quite like it before,” fellow passenger Patrick Maney, who witnessed the incident, told The New Orleans Advocate.
He claimed the woman was ordered by officers to get off the aircraft, but that she refused.
“She was screaming and resisting as they hauled her up and put some kind of restraints on her hands behind her back,” said Mr Maney.
“She kept saying that she was not an animal and didn’t want to be treated like an animal, things like that.”
According to Mr Maney, the woman screamed for a full 10 minutes while officers took her into custody.
Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office Captain Jason Rivarde confirmed that a woman was arrested after she refused to deplane following multiple requests by police.
The passenger could be charged with disturbing the peace, remaining in a place after being forbidden, resisting arrest and simple assault, according to Mr Rivarde.
American Airlines confirmed that the flight was delayed as a result of the incident.
Commercial airline passengers in the US must wear a face covering onboard flights, according to federal law.
Of 3,000 cases of disruptive passengers reported by airlines since 1 January 2021, around 2,300 involved passengers who refused to obey the federal requirement to wear a face mask.
Over the past decade, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has investigated about 140 incidents each year for possible enforcement actions such as fines – in 2021, they had investigated close to 400 by late May.
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