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Video Shows Disruptive Unmasked Passenger Who Caused Delay in NY-to-Miami Flight

Newsweek logo Newsweek 7/24/2021 Andrew Stanton
a large passenger jet sitting on top of a runway: An American Airlines flight was delayed Friday after a passenger refused to wear a mask. © Joe Raedle / Getty An American Airlines flight was delayed Friday after a passenger refused to wear a mask.

An American Airlines flight was delayed about two hours Friday after a passenger who allegedly refused to wear a mask and became unruly.

After passengers boarded the flight, which was scheduled to fly from JFK International Airport in New York to Miami International Airport, the man began fist-bumping and taking selfies with other passengers while not wearing a mask, according to WPLG-TV, a news station based in Miami.

The man then allegedly became disruptive after he was told to exit the plane.

Video obtained by the station shows the man going on a tirade, claiming his mask was broken while yelling and cursing at other passengers.

"I did nothing wrong. I was boarding my flight, and they're going to kick me off my flight and ruin my trip for no reason," he says in the video. "I did nothing wrong."

About 10 officers spent about an hour-and-a-half trying to get the man off the plane, the station reported. A medical crew was on the tarmac to determine if he was having a medical episode.

Passengers voiced their frustration with the delay.

"Everyone was pretty frustrated at that point because they knew that the guy was just refusing to get off the plane," Mackenzie Dallas said.

The airline said in a statement to Newsweek the passenger "failed to follow crewmember instructions and the federal face mask requirement."


Video: Delta (KOAT Albuquerque)

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"We thank our crew for their professionalism and our customers for their understanding," the statement said.

The flight departed at 3:31 p.m., the airline said.

Airplane passengers are required to wear masks, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. American Airlines also mandates mask wearing on flights, according to its website. Exceptions are made for people with disabilities that prevent them from wearing a mask.

The incident is one of many instances of unruly passengers causing flight delays this year, according to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

There had been more than 3,500 reports of unruly passengers in 2021 as of July 20, and 2,605 of those have been related to mask wearing, according to the FAA. About 581 investigations have been initiated so far in 2021.

Earlier in July, another American Airlines flight was canceled after a group of high school students allegedly refused to wear a mask on the plane. Passengers on the flight from Charlotte to the Bahamas were moved to a new plane due to mechanical issues. On the new plane, the students allegedly refused to wear masks while yelling and cursing.

"Some people's vacations are ruined. They were only going for a couple of nights. Now, they have to get rebooked," passenger Stephanie Krzywanski said.

A passenger on a Delta Airlines flight was also removed from a flight in early July after she refused to wear a mask.

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