A group of High School students refused to wear masks when their flight from Charlotte to the Bahamas experienced a mechanical delay on Monday and ended up getting the entire flight cancelled because of their “obnoxious behavior”. Other passengers said their vacations had been ruined because of the teenager’s actions.
American Airlines flight AA893 was meant to depart Charlotte for what should have been the short flight to Nassau on Monday morning but a technical hitch with the plane meant passengers had to swap to a new aircraft.
As the delay wore on other passengers on the flight say a group of around 30 High School students from the Boston area started to let their face masks slip. Rather than trying to comply with the face mask mandate, witnesses say the majority of them started to openly flout the rules and became “obnoxious”.
The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) face mask mandate for public transport which is enforced by the TSA remains in force and isn’t due to expire until September 13. Many U.S. carriers, including American Airlines, have observed a strict interpretation of the mandate and haven’t been afraid to ban passengers for failing to wear a face covering correctly.
“It was bad. First, they were yelling. They were cursing. They were being very obnoxious,” passenger Malik Banks told WSOC-TV. “It wasn’t all of them. I would say 75% to 80% of them were being terrible kids, saying smart stuff,” Banks continued.
“All they had to do was follow the rules, put the mask on, sit there. No smart-mouth comments. And they couldn’t do it,” another passenger told the news station.
With airline staff struggling to get passenger compliance, they took the ultimate decision to cancel the flight until Tuesday morning. Affected passengers were thankfully offered hotel vouchers although the High School students, aged between 17 and 18, were apparently too young to get a hotel room so they had to spend the night on the floor of the airport.
Sources told local news stations that no arrests were made,
The face mask mandate has resulted in a surge in unruly passenger incidents with airlines reporting more than 2,475 face mask non-compliance reports with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) since January.
On Tuesday, the FAA said it had slapped nine passengers with combined fines of $119,000 for a variety of offences including flouting the face mask mandate, as well as assaulting flight attendants and drinking their own alcohol onboard a plane.
Photo Credit: RozenskiP / Shutterstock.com
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.