People get kicked off of planes for lots of reasons. Often alcohol is involved. Recently the refusal to wear a mask has been a point of conflict, but with months feeling like years now this reason seems ‘so July’.
Instead the most 2020 reason to get kicked off a plane is now wearing a mask that’s offensive.
A Miami activist was kicked off an American Airlines flight over the message on her face mask “F- 12” (with F being a four-letter epithet) which stands for ‘F’ the police.
While American refunded her ticket, the woman drove to Chicago after being kicked off – she says she was asked to ‘cover up’ the message, she complied, but the plane returned to the gate prior to takeoff and she was removed from the flight anyway.
“I think I got taken off the plane because I’m black,” said Johns. “My mask said ‘[F***] 12’ and my shirt said, ‘Black Lives Matter.’”
…”I am an abolitionist,” she said. “I believe that we need to defund and abolish the police.”
The airline says she “refused to follow crew member instructions to remove or cover a face mask with offensive language” and that while the passenger “initially complied, [she] later continued to display the inappropriate language.”
The phrase F-12 comes out of Atlanta, and in one telling is derived from the 60s TV show Adam-12, about two LA cops whose patrol car was 1-Adam-12.
If I were the passenger I’d have said I thought ‘F12’ was just the mask standard, all of this nomenclature like N95, KN95, and KF94 is pretty new. And if I were the crewmember I’d just emphasize that it’s the “F*” that’s at issue, and not the message (though goodness with everyone trapped inside a tube isn’t the ideal time to share ideas, which is why I wear noise cancelling headphones).
Face masks, conflict in a metal tube, and Black Lives Matter protests hardly generate news on their own anymore. In 2020 it takes all three together to garner widespread attention.
Early on during the pandemic I thought we’d see less ‘conflict in the skies’ with fewer passengers and shared purpose. however the experience has become more small-d democratic than ever before, with nearly all leisure travelers – the usual frequent flyers traveling for business just aren’t in the mix. Perhaps the refrain is, “we’re all Spirit Airlines passsengers now.”
By the way for those of you looking to get kicked off of planes F12 masks are for sale here.