American Airlines Kicks Off 20 Passengers From A Single Flight Over Masks, Even A 3 Year Old

Twenty passengers headed to Hawaii were kicked off a flight by American Airlines on Sunday. Ten adults and ten children (ages 3 to 13) were on board a Salt Lake City to Dallas Fort-Worth flight when, they say, a gate agent flagged one of them for inadvertently letting their face mask fall beneath their nose.

As one family member says, corroborated by another passenger who says they were interviewed by American, they were kicked off not for being mask refuseniks but for a single member of the family have a brief mask slip. They report addressing the issue right away and thinking they’d go on with their flight.

American says the family “was noncompliant with their face covering policy.” An airline agent reported to the family that “the captain of the flight crew needed them off.” And it wasn’t just the one family member, it was the whole family.

According to the witness, though, “the family [was] wearing masks at all times” and was “unfairly removed.” It’s often difficult to sort through passenger versus airline versions of a story, but tellingly American Airlines didn’t just rebook them on later flights (according to the airline, after receiving assurances that the passengers would follow face covering policies) but they even rebooked family members on United and Delta flights to re-accommodate them.

If the airline had been in the right here it seems unlikely that they would have paid for other airline rebooking. According to American Airlines, though:

On Sunday, Jan. 24, passengers traveling on American Airlines flight 1214 from Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC) to Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) were reported to be noncompliant with our mandatory face covering policy, which requires face coverings be worn properly over the nose and mouth. Per procedure, the customers involved were asked to exit the aircraft before departure and the flight departed for DFW shortly after.

American, like other U.S. airlines, began requiring customers to wear a face covering while on board aircraft beginning May 11. We have since strengthened our policy to require face coverings be worn at airports and on board, and announced in June that we may deny future travel for customers who refuse to wear a face covering for the duration of this requirement.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. I cannot believe how mean most of these comments are! 20 tickets represents a large portion of income to AA and AA should have found a resolution without asking them to leave. And it is nobody’s business if some families choose to travel at this time. After all it is a free country isn’t it? Or should I say wasn’t it? I wear my mask properly and have had it slip off my nose. I have also been on an AA flight during pandemic where we were shoulder to shoulder packed unlike Delta who deliberately left the middle seat vacant. I think this story is a warning sign of abuse and control of power that we are unfortunately going to see more of. Shame on you AA! You should be trained in conflict resolution and it appears that whoever you deem to have broken the rules could have been removed without displacing an entire group of 20! For those of you who are judging this family I hope you have the opportunity to walk in their shoes.

  2. Masks are stupid. They don’t do squat. Airlines should knock off the mask nonsense because the true frequent flyers, like me, don’t want to wear them. The charade has gone on too long. The CDC walked back Covid deaths by 96%. Check that website if you need to. People afraid of a virus should stay home.

  3. Behave!! Wear a mask Comments that do not address this are from people who don’t behave. And silly accusation that crew members do not wear masks are stupid and ignorant.BEHAVE!

  4. I have witnessed too many individuals blatently refuse to follow these safety precautions. The single witness could be partial to “it’s a free country logic”. I don’t believe that AA would have asked them to leave if it were that minor of an infraction. Assisting the family with future flights is Not an admission of guilt. Many individuals have taken a Selfish stance during this pandemic. They do not care about their community. It’s sad to see the moral decline in America.

  5. Here’s the thing, I’ve flown AA during the worst day of this pandemic and they are mask nazis! I flew first class and watched a lot of interaction, heard a lot of “private” conversations between flight crew (I like to sit in the front row), and this is my conclusion about this. There is more to the story. For every person who was absolutely non-compliant, they had a conversation with them, explained the rules, made them verbally say they understood and sent them back to their seat. They did not let first class passengers go without their mask unless eating or drinking- and they kept an eye out! Were they kind of hateful? Yup! Even in other areas, I think their customer service stinks! This is a huge adjustment for everyone and AA has zero compassion or empathy for their customers any more. Don’t get me wrong, I think the customers are all acting like entitled babies and treating the employees like crap too. I think if you don’t want to or can’t follow the current policies in place, don’t fly. If you want to go to Hawaii, wait until this crap is over or find another family destination in the meantime you can drive to. I’m sure this whole incident was traumatic for the whole family and probably even caused some fights and many tears – how sad! This article just emphasizes how broken our society has become. No more empathy or compassion – just a little from either side would have gone a long way.

  6. Just follow the damn directions. If you are on your ranch in Montana then you can wear or not wear your mask. The rule is there to save human lives. Everybody wants to be macho man because the former president wouldn’t wear a mask, but when crunch time comes and there’s a shortage of vaccine they will run over the handicapped and sick to get the vaccine first.

  7. It is all about white privilege I see it every day around Pennsylvania. They have this look on their faces like they can’t die. So now I’m carrying because nobody ever challenges those people.

  8. These people think they white and privilege kick them off let them walk to their damm destination. And now you see why America is not getting rid of the virus

  9. Rules are rules. It is their plane. You dont buy it but only rent the seat space as required. You dont like it dont fly. They Protect others.

  10. It isn’t hard to tell from the comments how easily and mindlessly the “people” follow whatever they are told!
    Here’s a novel idea; How about those who claim to know Messiah Yeshua/ Jesus actually start doing as HE said to do, instead of acting like the world? How about loving HIM and be willing to die to self as HE tells us throughout Scripture? John 14:15 , If you love ME. guard MY commands!
    HE and The FATHER are One, and HE is THE WORD from the beginning. The difference is we now are given the Power through The HOLY SPIRIT to obey and do what is right, saved by grace through Faith, not of works so that any should boast, But we are to go onto good works through that Faith, which is b the evidence of Belief. Two choices; good or bad, light or dark, life or death, narrow path or broad path that leads to destruction! Choose Life, and stop following the “mandates” of men, but rather hear and obey what our heavenly FATHER said!

    This was all prophesied thousands is years ago. Read Matthew 24, Mark 13, Luke 21, and even in Deuteronomy 32, and the prophets! Return to GOD and HE will return to you! Shalom in the Name of the Most High Yeshua!

  11. We flew awhile back and most of the flight attendants were really good but 1 was not and so i inderstand why people get kicked off its flight attendants who want to excersize there power..

  12. This pandemic is very deadly so, we all should be responsible citizens. If some passengers would start to deny wearing masks, then in this way, they will make problems for other passengers as well.

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