News and Commentary

Video Shows Man Wearing Trump Gear Booted Off Plane For Removing Mask To Eat, Airline Responds
Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-800 takes off from Hollywood Burbank Airport on September 16, 2020 in Burbank, California.
AaronP/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images

A Southwest Airlines passenger wearing a “Trump 2020” mask and a “Black Voices for Trump” hat was forced off a flight after removing his mask to eat. The airline says he repeatedly refused to wear his mask before what’s shown in a video that went viral earlier this week.

Footage taken by another passenger shows the man holding a bag of mixed nuts with his face mask pulled below his chin, the New York Post reported.

“Tell us the policy that says he cannot eat with his mask off?” a woman filming asks. “It’s the hat and the mask — it’s not the eating.”

“It’s not a publicity stunt,” the woman argues with the flight attendant telling the man to wear a mask.

In a second video shared by SV News, the man is seen leaving the flight.

The video was shared by Donald Trump Jr. on Twitter, who slammed the airline for removing the passenger.

“WTF??? This is disgusting. I’ve been on a thousand flights in the last few months and everyone lowers their masks to eat and drink. I did it on a southwest flight earlier this week,” Trump Jr. wrote.

Southwest Airlines provided a statement to the Washington Examiner claiming the video did not show the whole story.

“Our reports indicate that a Customer traveling on Flight 2632, with scheduled service from Tampa to Dallas, was asked repeatedly by more than one Employee at different times to wear a face mask. The Customer did not comply with our Crew’s multiple verbal requests — including while boarding the flight before seated. Therefore, the decision was made to return to the gate and re-accommodate him on a later flight to his final destination after receiving assurances he would comply with our face covering policy. We regret the inconvenience the situation created for all involved, but our Crew must uphold the well-being and comfort of all Passengers,” the statement said.

Southwest’s website explains that customers must wear facemasks at all times.

“Customers are required to wear a face covering over their nose and mouth at all times during their Southwest travel experience,” the website states. “It is highly encouraged to bring your own hand sanitizer and face covering. In accordance with the current CDC guidance, a well-secured cloth or mask that fits snugly against the face, covers an individual’s nose and mouth, and is secured under the chin will be accepted.”

As the Examiner reported, the same airline was criticized last year after a flight attending posted something disparaging of a passenger wearing Trump campaign gear. The airline also released a statement regarding that incident.

“We aim to provide outstanding service to all who travel with us,” a Southwest Airlines spokesperson said in a statement at the time. “The post in question does not reflect the inclusive environment we strive to provide for our customers and employees.”

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