Mateusz Maszczynski is a serving international flight attendant with experience…
We’ve become accustomed to passengers getting booted from flights for refusing to wear a face mask but in this case, an American Airlines passenger was ejected from a flight for wearing a face mask because flight attendants judged its message inappropriate and offensive.
Arlinda Johns, a self-proclaimed activist from South Florida, was flying from Miami to St Louis when flight attendants stopped her in her tracks over her face mask. The face-covering was emblazoned with the message: “F**K 12”.
12 is a slang term for the police and Johns who was also wearing a Black Lives Matter t-shirt is an ardent supporter of defunding the police. There are several theories as to why ’12’ is slang terminology for police including the fact that the police radio code ’10-12′ has seeped into popular culture.
“I am an abolitionist. I believe that we need to defund and abolish the police,” Johns says. “I think I got taken off the plane because I’m Black.”
A flight attendant apparently told Johns to cover up the mask or risk being ejected from the flight, for which she says she complied. But then, Johns says the flight attendant came back over and stood over her.
“I better not see that other mask,” the flight attendant allegedly said. “I said, ‘Leave me alone, lady.’ She stood there, she said, ‘OK, I got you.’”
At that point, Johns claims the flight attendants went to the front of the plane and within minutes she was asked to get off.
In a statement, a spokesperson for American Airlines confirmed that Johns was asked to leave the plane because she refused to remove a face mask with “offensive language” on it.
“The customer was offered an alternate face covering, and although initially complying, it was reported that they later continued to display the offensive language. After arriving at the gate, the customer was asked to deplane,” a statement from AA continued.
“Our team has reached out to the customer to learn more about their experience and we will continue to look into this matter. We are refunding the unused portion of the ticket.”
American Airlines is a supporter of the wider Black Lives Matter movement and following the August 2020 incident, the airline allowed flight attendants and other employees to wear BLM pin badges while on duty. The airline says that they believe BLM is “an expression of equality, not a political statement”.
Mateusz Maszczynski is a serving international flight attendant with experience at a major Middle East and European airline. Mateusz is passionate about the aviation industry and helping aspiring flight attendants achieve their dreams. Cabin crew recruitment can be tough, ultra-competitive and just a little bit confusing - Mateusz has been there and done that. He's got the low down on what really works.