A Spirit Airlines flight attendant has been caught telling passengers on a recent flight that they face being banned from flying for life on any U.S. airline if they fail to wear a face mask despite the fact that no such law exists. Passengers were also told they face being arrested or fined for not wearing a face mask correctly, but again, no such law mandates the wearing of face masks on planes.
“Once the door is closed if we have to ask you more than once to cover your nose, mouth, put your mask on, we’re not going to be rude, we’re not going to be nasty, we’re going to simply take your seat number and your name and when we get where we’re going you’ll either be arrested, (or) fined but you’ll also be placed on the no-fly list meaning that you’ll not be able to fly any airline for the rest of your life,” the flight attendant told the passengers over the public address system.
In the video which was shared on Twitter, the flight attendant then goes onto say: “So please, again, I’m saying this because there is usually that one person and I really don’t want to do the extra paperwork and more than I’m intended for my job. So, if you do not agree or want to, know, do what needs to be done you are more than welcome to exit at this time.”
“Also, I’m not really sure what’s going on with all these videos going viral attacking each other and/or flight attendants, let me remind you, we are government officials and this is government property. If you choose to act out of content or character on this aircraft, you will be arrested and will face 20 years imprisonment and you’ll also receive a $250,000 fine.”
“If a weapon is used, you’ll face life in prison. So, before anybody gets creative, wanna feel froggy, wanna be bad, wanna be a superhero, let me let you know whats going on,” the flight attendant continues before giving his name and base should any of the passengers have an issue.
But despite airlines going to great lengths to require passengers to wear face masks in airports and onboard planes, the federal government has repeatedly rejected calls to issue a mandate on the wearing of face masks on planes and other public transport.
The decision by the Trump administration not to enforce face mask rules on public transport is in stark contrast to rules drawn up by many governments as they attempt to control the spread of the novel Coronavirus. It’s been mandatory to wear a face mask on all commercial flights in Canada for months, while similar rules have been introduced for some time across much of Europe.
Instead, U.S.-based airlines have attempted to enforce their own face mask rules by drawing up no-fly lists of passengers that have failed to comply with the rules. The no-fly lists aren’t shared between airlines and for the time being, at least, airlines say banned passengers will likely be allowed to fly again once the face mask rules are relaxed.
Delta Air Lines has taken the strictest approach to its face mask policy, already banning more than 500 customers for failing to wear a mask – either at all or properly.
The incoming Biden Administration is likely to toughen up face mask policies onboard commercial aircraft but until then, it’s not actually illegal not to wear a face mask onboard a flight.
Unsurprisingly, Spirits says the announcement wasn’t approved and would take action to prevent it happening again in the future. In a statement, a spokesperson for the airline told us:
“The message in this video is not Spirit’s approved message for welcoming our Guests onboard our planes and is not authorized. We appreciate the Guest who brought it to our attention, and we’re addressing the issue to make sure that this does not occur again in the future.”
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.