Passenger Videotapes Himself Being Denied Boarding For Refusing To Wear A Mask

A Ryanair passenger tried to fly from Dublin to London Gatwick without a face mask. He had flown before the face mask requirement went into effect, and claims not to have known he needed one – and if it was required, Ryanair should’ve provided it, the airline shouldn’t be able to keep his money and not transport him.

Here’s video of the altercation – the airline and the rest of passengers on the flight are lucky this all happened at the gate, rather than the passenger putting on a mask and taking it off on the plane.

I predicted a month ago that if airlines actually enforced inflight mask rules that people would start fights and flights would divert.

The passenger claims that Ryanair threatened him with a lifetime ban if he shared this video. And he further argues that if underwear were made a requirement of flying after he purchased the ticket then it’s an ex post facto change and shouldn’t be enforced. I think this ignores the many passengers who are in fact wearing underwear as their face masks.

Here’s what I don’t understand. Many governments initially told people not to wear masks. Individuals wearing masks is a triumph of individualism and a stand against government lockdowns. They show social distancing and limited measures can slow the spread of the virus without the heavy hand of government. Airlines imposing mask rules is a voluntary step by a business to market to their customers and given them confidence to buy their product. Shouldn’t people who oppose masks actually support the freedom of businesses to do this?

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. “Shouldn’t people who oppose masks actually support the freedom of businesses to do this?”

    They should, but that’s assuming they have a libertarian-esque framework or understanding of freedom. I have found that, in practice, most freedom lovers are actually just completely self-interested, and they only want freedom insomuch as it allows them to do whatever they please without regard for others. They will love or hate freedom based on how it personally affects them.

  2. I have struggled with this exact question. I had four or five trips booked on Delta in May, which I considered canceling, when they enacted the facemask rules.

    I decided that I would do minimum compliance (which is what I do in all airlines now, since they all jumped on the ‘scary virus bandwagon’)

    That said, delta owns the planes, and I respect that it is their property, not mine.

    I think it’s a dumb decision, and I wrote them saying so. But they aren’t the government. So they can do what they want here.

    I don’t like it, but I accept it.
    (And I also take my mask off as soon as we takeoff., Because they’ve made it clear they won’t get me in trouble, nor will it actually cause any disruption to the flight)

    Viral lockdown has been the biggest nightmare of libertarians. But hopefully it gets more people thinking in this way instead of just the blanket right/left doctrines that are force fed to everyone.

  3. “Shouldn’t people who oppose masks actually support the freedom of businesses to do this?”

    Yes. But there are some among them who resent authority and others’ power to place conditions upon them and their lifestyles. They do not distinguish big business from big government when, absent a state actor, they have to check their rights at the door.

  4. you have White entitled women like Kate, what do you call dumb White privileged men?

  5. @pho – you’re thinking of “Karen” for a woman. There’s lots of online debate about what to call a “male Karen”…some people have settled on Kevin, Greg, Brad, Chad…I disagree with Chad because Chad is a specific type of bro, he doesn’t want to see the manager, his dad will just get the manager fired.

  6. And PRESTO, you have arrived at the reason why the rest of us wont fly. If you refuse to make the SMALLEST sacrifice to support the entire community, then why would I want to travel with you? This is a PANDEMIC. It’s not someone wearing a pro-trump T-shirt and being denied boarding, or praying upon taxi. Its a VIRUS thats KILLED 102K AMERICANS, and will kill more. If you can’t put a piece of fabric over your mouth because you feel insulted, I’m so sorry.

  7. Well, I think this guy brings up a really good point. He was not refusing to wear a mask. He simply requested that if they want him to wear one they should provide it and he would comply. Not unreasonable. As he didn’t have one. The only unknown is whether he was just trolling them for social media fame and fun.

  8. I respect his stand, but at this moment, it is really not bad and should not be a burden to think of others rather than only himself. The virus is still potent and wearing a mask in a confine space really do make a difference. Protect himself and others for possible harms..
    We all have a faire share of fear and anxiety over this virus, we should not be making a huge drama if we should or should not wear a mask. It is at this moment an important health aid, we should accept it.

  9. @JoelFreak

    You’re about 2 months too late with that argument. It was hashed out very thoroughly in March.

    Everyone realized *some* level of personal responsibility was reasonable – even from the most daft citizens who blame everyone else for everything.

    Consensus: If you’re scared of things, don’t do them.

    Really, life isn’t more complicated than that.
    You being scared of something, doesn’t make OTHER people scared of it.

    See: rollercoasters, skydiving, scuba diving, racing cars, MMA, Boxing… god, the list is endless.
    You don’t have to do it. But, you also don’t get to tell OTHER people what to do.
    See how that works?

    If airplanes scare you, or people scare you still: Keep silence, stay home and don’t fly.
    Most people are smart enough to realize a mask doesn’t do much, and a plane is the safest way to travel. So, uhm, you might want to loosen your tinfoil hat….

  10. @howard Please send me a memo next time riding a roller coaster is contagious. Until then, wear a fucking mask. We DO have the right to tell others what to do when that can affect others. We regulate food safety, we regulate plane safety (you know that pilot? He has a LICENCE), and thus we regulate PUBLIC safety, and during a pandemic, you wear a fucking mask. I find it outrageous how some here get SO bent out of shape for someone barefoot on a plane, and they think THAT should be outlawed, but demand a mask during a PANDEMIC, and THAT encroaches on your liberty.

  11. “(And I also take my mask off as soon as we takeoff., Because they’ve made it clear they won’t get me in trouble, nor will it actually cause any disruption to the flight)”

    After 110,000 deaths, I’m actually reading this.

    God help us all!

  12. I’m actually saddened by this and some of the ignorant comments on here, especially as there is compelling evidence that they work to stop the SPREAD of the virus:

    Please don’t argue with me on this, as:

    1. You’re not a virologist
    2. You’ll only make yourself look even more ignorant
    3. And if you are going to argue, for humanities sake, don’t breed

  13. May I remind everyone when Covid19 started that airlines said flying would actually be safer than staying on the ground since their air cleaning systems are as good as operating rooms in a hospital?
    Now suddenly thats not the case anymore.
    I’m not saying dont wear a mask, its safer to wear one, but its funny how the view of things change.

  14. You aren’t allowed to enter a plane naked, yet the airline doesn’t provide any clothes.

  15. Where has this dude been for the last few months?
    @George. It’s only a matter of time for you. Africa is really not healthy right now.

  16. This is like wearing a Helmut on a motorcycle or wearing a seat belt . you have options of you do not use them your chance if death increased. The world is full of Darwinism. Subjects who prove action can be fatel

  17. On my flight yesterday, I see tons of people having the masks covering their mouth but not their nose. With any luck, Darwinism will do its work. I have no sympathy for ignorant people who are spreading it and bringing the germs back to their loved ones. It’s no different than panicking people with oxygen masks around their mouths instead of their noses… or men wearing trousers with their penis hanging out!

  18. Hi Gary Leff

    This is James Higgins who you are referencing (without consent) in this article. I have tried to contact you via LinkedIn without success, but hope that you will read this message and contact me using the email address provided.

    I am currently in touch with the Daily Mail (who have since changed their article), The Sun, The Mirror, The Express and several other major UK media outlets who originally published this article (without my consent). In the UK, it is required by law that media outlets publish articles in accordance with the following standards and code of practice: Specifically, point one of the Code is ‘Accuracy’:

    1. Accuracy
    i) The Press must take care not to publish inaccurate, misleading or distorted information or images, including headlines not supported by the text.

    ii) A significant inaccuracy, misleading statement or distortion must be corrected, promptly and with due prominence, and — where appropriate — an apology published. In cases involving IPSO, due prominence should be as required by the regulator.

    iii) A fair opportunity to reply to significant inaccuracies should be given, when reasonably called for.

    iv) The Press, while free to editorialise and campaign, must distinguish clearly between comment, conjecture and fact.

    v) A publication must report fairly and accurately the outcome of an action for defamation to which it has been a party, unless an agreed settlement states otherwise, or an agreed statement is published.

    Given that you are in the US I have a limited understanding of the legal obligations with which you must uphold. With that being said, it would be appreciated if we could have a conversation which may lead to you understanding a little more about me personally, the organisations which I run and the standards with which we conduct our business. This will provide far more context around what happened, some of the mistreatment I faced as a customer and will enable you to report upon something far more interesting with ‘accuracy’.

    Furthermore, it is always interesting to speak with and meet new people.

    Hopefully speak soon.


  19. @James Higgins – I’m easy to reach I publish my email address here on the site (gary -at-

    It’s curious that you don’t mention what you claim is inaccurate in what I’ve written. I simply covered the video that you recorded and shared online, my entire coverage here is based on your own recording. Of course if I’ve mischaracterized something I’d love to know – indeed, you’ve already seen that the comments are open.

  20. @James Higgins: Welcome to America where Gary doesn’t need your [redacted -gl] permission to write about you. We have something called freedom of the press here, and in America it actually means something.

    Gary didn’t libel you in this article. While he may choose to change it if you contact him, he doesn’t have to and there is nothing you can do about it.


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