Spirit Airlines passenger removed from flight for not wearing mask

Airline asked police to intervene after man took off his face mask and refused to put it back on, Spirit spokesperson says

A Spirit Airlines passenger was removed from a flight from LaGuardia airport to Fort Lauderdale, Florida on Friday for refusing to wear a mask.

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A video of the incident shared on Twitter shows law enforcement confronting the unidentified man.

"The whole plane is a witness, I didn't do anything," the man tells the Port Authority officer. "Tell me why I'm not flying."

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Another passenger in the background can be heard showing their support for the man, saying that his removal is "racist" and that passengers have to take their mask off to drink. He also threatened to take off his own mask and said "if you take him off, you're taking me off too."

The officer continues to talk to the passenger letting him know that he needed to leave the flight.

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"I'm going home to see my father who had a stroke," the passenger tells the officer.

The officer proceeded to ask the passenger: "What would you like me to do?" to which the passenger responded saying he wanted to stay on the flight.

Another video was posted showing that the entire flight had to get off the plane with the man continuing to refuse to wear a face mask.

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A spokesperson for Spirit Airlines told FOX Business the airline asked police to intervene after the man took off his face mask and refused to put it back on.

"Ultimately, the man chose to deplane on his own instead of risking legal consequences," the spokesperson added. "Spirit will always err on the side of caution when it comes to the health and safety of our Guests. Wearing a face covering is simple, it’s easy, and it’s critical to Spirit and the airline industry as a whole. We thank the thousands of Guests and Spirit Team Members who do their part each day to protect each other, and we will continue to enforce the use of face coverings on board our aircraft."

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
SAVESPIRIT AIRLINES INC.17.85-0.19-1.05%

The news comes as airlines have been strictly enforcing restrictions put in place to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

A passenger was kicked off of an American Airlines flight in June for refusing to wear a mask.

In addition, Delta CEO Ed Bastian told customers in a statement on Wednesday that passengers who refuse to follow the airline industry's new guidelines will "risk losing the ability to fly with Delta in the future."

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According to an analysis by Goldman Sachs, the majority of U.S. airlines are expected to face a prolonged recovery from the pandemic.

"We are incorporating a slower recovery in demand into our forecasts, particularly for international markets, than we were previously," Goldman analyst Catherine O'Brien wrote in a note to clients on Sunday. "We now expect traffic for the carriers in our coverage universe to recover to 2019 levels in 2023 as opposed to 2022."

"Given current trends, and the incremental uncertainty around additional, potential domestic US travel restrictions over the last several weeks, we now expect the pace of demand recovery in the US to be slower than we were previously expecting," O'Brien added.

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According to the analysis, the demand for air travel will eventually return with the airline industry's net income expected to increase 6 percent to $15.5 billion by 2025.