Allegiant Air is under fire after a viral video showed a flight attendant removing an elderly passenger from one of its planes following a face mask dispute.
Although the airline told The Washington Post that it removed the man from the Labor Day flight, departing from Punta Gorda, Florida, for “making threatening statements to the flight attendant,” cell-phone footage of the incident suggests otherwise.
In several videos posted to social media, a female flight attendant is seen in the aisle of the plane while confronting a seated man.
She is heard asking the passenger to exit several times, before threatening to involve law enforcement, according to anonymous footage posted on Storyful.
“I need you to come off or I get law enforcement,” the employee, who is sporting a hot pink vest, tells the man-in-question, the clip documents.
The Storyful video shows the man explaining that he only asked the attendant to put on her face mask. Both the passenger and flight attendant are seen wearing masks at this time.
“I just asked somebody to put on their face mask, that’s all I did,” the passenger expressed, as he begs to speak with the captain.
Other Allegiant flyers can be heard in the background offering their support to the man, with many expressing that he should be allowed to stay.
One person exclaims, “this is terrible,” as the man is eventually escorted out, while another laments that it’s “not right, this is ridiculous.”
Here’s what you need to know about the Allegiant Air Labor Day flight incident:
Allegiant Says the Man Made Persistent ‘Threatening Statements to the Attendant,’ According to The Washington Post
We earned the highest score for COVID-19 traveler safety in a recent ranking of North America's airlines! Safe Travel Barometer conducted the independent audit, evaluating more than 150 airlines. Check out @TravelPulse's article about the study here: https://t.co/FM5AZ2LsAR! pic.twitter.com/hOHK03P7DB
— Allegiant (@Allegiant) September 2, 2020
Allegiant Air claimed in an email statement to The Washington Post that the now-viral dispute stemmed from the “pre-flight safety briefing.”
The man first “became disruptive during” that time, the airline continued in its claim, and “persisted in making threatening statements to the flight attendant, to the point of harassment,” The Post reported.
The newspaper also noted that the passenger was “accommodated on another departing flight.”
Newsweek added that the airline also expressed that the flight attendant only briefly lowered her face face mask to speak “into the PA so the briefing could be understood.”
According to the airline’s face mask policy, all Allegiant “customers” are required to cover their noses and mouths “at all times.”
The masks may be “briefly” removed while eating or drinking, while children under the age of 2 are exempt, the policy continues.
Many Have Taken to Social Media to Criticize the Airline’s Conduct
@Allegiant the best way for all of us to deal with YOUR company’s and staffs lack of self discipline is simply to NOT FLY YOUR AIRLINE EVER AGAIN. GET IT? You won’t be missed. https://t.co/ECSvpawz3A
— inatwit (@inatwittoday) September 7, 2020
As clips of the Labor Day encounter began to circulate online, many took to Twitter and other platforms to share their opinions on the airline’s conduct.
Twitter user @peter61809160 posted a now-viral clip of the September 7 incident with the caption:
“Airline this morning from Punta Gorda Florida this morning Because he asked the flight attendant why he had to wear a mask and she didn’t have to wear one.”
This old guy was removed from the plane on allegiant Airlines this morning from Punta Gorda Florida pic.twitter.com/I1X5T2BKOr
— Patrick (@peter61809160) September 7, 2020
The roughly-10-second clip, which captures the end of the encounter between the passenger and flight attendant, has since garnered more than 4,000 views. It has also inspired a wide-range of responses.
While many were quick to criticize Allegiant Air, others expressed disbelief at the company’s conduct.
Below are some of the public reactions on Twitter:
In other words, the little peasant people must do what we say because you are a turd. Time for more oversight of airlines. #Allegiant Air passenger removed for 'disrupting' flight after allegedly asking flight attendant to wear face maskhttps://t.co/X1IZpMhpHX
— Jonald Trumper (@JonaldTrumper) September 8, 2020
We all have to wear the damned unnecessary things. Why not her/him? It should be mandatory by Allegiant Air. The second I saw a flight attendant not wearing a mask. Mine would come off too.
— Roberta Strand (@VallartaMama) September 8, 2020
— Pollyanna (@hummingbird_526) September 7, 2020
I can guarantee no one complained they couldn't hear the announcement. No one pays attention. @allegiant is full of shit. Allegiant Air passenger removed for 'disrupting' flight after allegedly asking flight attendant to wear face mask https://t.co/NS2YLGgwml #SmartNews
— Mashin' Potatoes (@EricGa) September 8, 2020