An Allegiant Air passenger was booted off a flight this week over a face mask dispute—but he wasn't the one not complying with the airline's policy. In the incident on a Monday flight from Punta Gorda, Fla., to Portsmouth, NH, the passenger reportedly told a flight attendant doing the pre-takeoff safety briefing to put their face mask on. USA Today has a clip that shows the man then being asked to leave. "I need you to come off or I get ... law enforcement," says a flight attendant to the stunned passenger (it's not clear if this is the flight attendant he initially complained about). The flier replies, "I just asked somebody to put on their face mask, that's all I did." His request to speak to the captain is refused, and other passengers come to his defense. "This is ridiculous," one says. A second video shows the passenger, who was booked on another flight, being escorted off the plane.
The airline issued a statement in which it claims the passenger became "disruptive during the pre-flight safety briefing" and "persisted in making threatening statements to the flight attendant, to the point of harassment," per the Washington Post. It adds to Newsweek that the flight attendant removed the mask while "speaking into the PA so the briefing could be understood." Allegiant's policy notes "all crew members are required to wear a face covering at all times ... during inflight service." Other online complaints have surfaced about Allegiant workers not wearing face masks or wearing them improperly; some even praise the airline for not being "fussy" about face coverings. The airline didn't respond to the Post directly when questioned on those posts, but simply noted that "customer and crew safety is paramount" and that "interfering with a crew member is a violation of FAA regulations." (Read more Allegiant Airlines stories.)