Olympic boxing medalist and two-time world professional boxing champion, Amir Khan says he has been left “disgusted” and “heartbroken” after he and his work colleague were “kicked off” an American Airlines flight by police on Saturday morning for a face mask non-compliance violation.
The British pro boxer, promoter and philanthropist was due to fly from New York City to Colorado Springs with AA via Dallas to start a training camp ahead of a much-anticipated return to the ring but the Olympic silver medalist took to Twitter to tell his 2.1 million followers that he needed to find a new way to Colorado.
“I was taken off the plane today when I was going to training camp in Colorado Springs by police,” the 34-year-old welterweight told his fans.
“A complaint was made by American Airlines staff, they said my colleague’s mask was not high enough and not up, that they had to stop the plane and take me and my friend off when I did nothing wrong,” he continued.
The pair were sat in First Class ahead of Khan’s return to pro boxing following a two-year hiatus.
“They kicked us both off. I was sat at 1A and he was sat in 1B. I find it disgusting and disrespectful, I was supposed to go to Colorado Springs for a training camp and now I’m back in New York for another day and I have to reschedule another plane to travel back to training camp,” Khan said in disbelief.
“It’s really upsetting; there was no reason and I’m so disgusted that American Airlines would do this and ban me from travelling. There must be cameras that they can see to see if I or my colleague were bad in any way or caused. a scene in any way.”
AA doesn’t have security cameras onboard its aircraft apart from the cockpit door surveillance system.
American Airlines said two passengers were removed from flight AA700 for more than just a face mask violation and that there had also been issues with the passengers stowing their bags and placing their cellphones in airplane mode.
“Prior to takeoff, American Airlines Flight 700, with service from Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) to Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW), returned to the gate to deplane two customers who reportedly refused to comply with repeated crew member requests to stow luggage, place cell phones in airplane mode and adhere to federal face covering requirements,” a spokesperson for the airline said in an emailed statement.
“Our Customer Relations team is reaching out to Mr. Khan to learn more about his experience and reinforce the importance of policies implemented for the safety of our customers and crew,” the statement continued.
Khan is permitted to continue traveling with AA and a spokesperson noted that police were only present at the gate as per policy and did not get involved in the deplaning process.
Last week, the Dallas-based airline booted a mother and her two-year-old son from a flight because the asthmatic toddler couldn’t tolerate wearing a face mask.
Despite the best efforts of mom Amanda Pendarvis to keep the mask on her son Waylon, he threw a tantrum and wouldn’t wear the mask. AA flight attendants refused to accept Waylon’s very recent negative COVID-19 test as an alternative and had the family removed from the flight.
AA rebooked mon and son on a later flight that arrived the same day. It wasn’t immediately clear whether AA had offered to rebook Khan and his friend on another flight.
Suggesting racial undertones to AA’s decision to remove the pair, Khan accompanied his video with the hashtag: #Notallterrorists
The federal face mask mandate requires all passengers aged two and over to wear an approved face covering over their mouth and nose for the duration of their journey apart from when they are actively eating and drinking. The mask should be pulled up in between bites and sips.
The mandate was recently extended through January 18, 2022.
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.