A brawl broke out on an Allegiant Air flight last week after a passenger refused to wear a mask instead of his face shield and the incident was captured on video. Flight 607 from Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport to Provo, Utah, was the scene of a fight between passengers on Saturday, all over the airline’s mask policy, The Arizona Republic reported.
The altercation was captured on video by Rylie Lansford, a passenger who was seated in the row in front of the person who took issue with the mask requirements. She posted the wild video to Instagram and it is available below:
The Mesa Police Department Escorted the Man Who Wasn’t Wearing a Mask Off the Plane
Jason Flam with the Mesa Police Department identified the man involved in the dispute as 52-year-old Rio James Honaker of American Fork, Utah. Flam told The Arizona Republic that Honaker was removed from the flight because he was “confrontational with a flight attendant when asked multiple times to put a mask on.”
Flam told the outlet that the fight began when a flight attendant requested that Honaker leave the plane over his refusal to wear a mask in addition to or instead of his face shield. A passenger sitting in front of Honaker told him to get off so the plane could leave, to which Honaker answered: “Mind your own f****** business.” According to the Republic, as Honaker was leaving he elbowed that passenger in the head and blamed him for getting him removed from the flight.
At that point, Flam said that an off-duty police officer on the flight stepped in and took Honaker off the flight. Flam told the outlet that Honaker was charged with one count of disorderly conduct.
Lansford, who took the video, also recorded a follow-up video in which she explained the context around the brawl. In that video, she said she was in her seat when a flight attendant asked Honaker, who was in the row behind her, to wear a face mask as his shield didn’t meet the airline’s requirements. She said soon after that, a passenger in her row yelled, “It’s called COVID.” Honaker and the passenger in Lansford’s row began arguing with each other and she said she could tell the situation was deteriorating.
The two men began fighting as flight attendants were trying to escort Honaker off the plane, which is when Lansford left her seat and began recording the altercation.
The Airline Issued a Statement & Reminded Passengers That Face Shields Are Not a Suitable Alternative to Masks on Their Flights
The airline issued a statement to the Republic, stating that “While the passenger was being escorted off the plane, he had an altercation with another passenger. Law enforcement was called to assist.”
According to the Allegiant Air website, the airline’s mask policy states that passengers must wear a face covering during the whole flight. The face covering must be “made of a solid material, fully cover the mouth and nose, fit snugly against the face, and be secured under the chin.” The policy also mentions face shields, which can be “worn in addition to a face covering, but not as an alternative.”