Flight to London Turns Back After Woman Won't Mask Up

American Airlines flight landed back in Miami
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 21, 2022 12:31 AM CST
American Airlines Flight Returns to Florida After Woman Refuses to Mask Up
American Airlines passenger jets prepare for departure, Wednesday, July 21, 2021, near a terminal at Boston Logan International Airport, in Boston.   (AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)

(Newser) – En route from Miami to London, an American Airlines flight instead ended up back where it started Wednesday night due to a mask-refusing passenger. Authorities say "a disruptive customer refusing to comply with the federal mask requirement" forced the Boeing 777 to fly all 129 passengers back to Miami International Airport about an hour, or 500 miles, into its flight, the New York Times reports. Police officers met the flight upon its return and escorted a woman in her 40s off the plane, but did not arrest her.

The flight was ultimately canceled and passengers were booked on other flights, the Washington Post reports—with the exception of the woman in question: Sources say she's been placed on the list of people not allowed to fly with American Airlines pending further investigation. As of Tuesday, the FAA had received 151 reports of unruly passengers so far this year, and 92 of those reports involved face mask disputes. Last year, there were 5,981 unruly passenger reports, 4,290 of them related to masks. (This is just the latest in a long, long, long, long, long, long line of such incidents; in one of the most recent, a woman involved ended up in FBI custody.)

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