Three people kicked off plane for not wearing masks — after nine-hour wait for boarding

Fellow passengers break into song as three travellers escorted off

Lucy Thackray
Monday 20 September 2021 13:28 BST
Shaky footage shows fellow passengers breaking out in song
Shaky footage shows fellow passengers breaking out in song (@dreatrev/Instagram)

Three American Airlines passengers were kicked off a flight at Miami Airport on Friday after reportedly refusing to comply with mask rules.

The flight, bound for Houston, had already been delayed for nine hours prior to the incident.

In a video filmed by another traveller, a woman in a red top and a man in a black jacket are pictured gathering their belongings from the overhead bins before walking to the front of the plane.

There is no footage of a visible disagreement over mask wearing, but Instagram account @OnlyinDade — a reference to the Floridian state of Miami-Dade — suggested two of the passengers had not worn masks correctly, while a third had argued with cabin crew.

“Three people kicked out of American Airlines flight in MIA that had already been delayed for nine hours. Two for not following mask rules and another person for arguing with them,” reads the Instagram caption, attributing the video to user @dreatrev.

Whatever the cause of the eviction from the flight, it was a popular decision with the other passengers, who can be heard laughing and singing “Na na na na, na na na na, hey hey hey, goodbye” as the anti-maskers are escorted off the aircraft.

An American Airlines spokesperson said: “Prior to takeoff, American Airlines Flight 1469, with service from Miami (MIA) to Houston (IAH), returned to the gate to deplane two customers who failed to comply with crew member instructions and refused to adhere to federal face covering requirements.

“We thank our team members for their professionalism and apologize to our customers for the inconvenience.”

The US has a federal mask mandate in place, meaning passengers must wear masks on all airlines and in all airports across the country until at least January 2022.

In July, CNBC reported that 75 per cent of the Federal Aviation Administration’s unruly passenger reports since 1 January have been to do with mask wearing — often starting with customers refusing to wear them or pulling them down, before escalating to physical confrontation or verbal abuse.

Earlier this month, President Biden increased the fine for those who refuse to wear masks on US flights to a minimum of $500, saying: “If you break the rules, be prepared to pay — and by the way, show some respect.”

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