American Airlines flight overturns passenger mask dispute

An American Airlines flight to London from Miami flew about an hour late Wednesday night because of a passenger who refused to wear a mask, the airline said.

Officers encountered Flight AAL38 at Miami International Airport upon its return and escorted a woman in her 40s off the plane, said Lea Gonzalez, public information officer for the Miami Police Department. Dad. She was not arrested, Ms. Gonzalez said.

The Boeing 777, carrying 129 passengers and 14 crew, was about 500 miles from its 4,400-mile flight when it reversed course off North Carolina, flight trackers Pin up.

American Airlines said in a statement that the flight was diverted due to “a disruptive customer refusing to comply with the federal mask requirement.”

The episode was another in a long list of in-flight mask disputes that have erupted during the pandemic.

In October, a passenger was accused of punching an American Airlines flight attendant in the nose, causing her a concussion, after a mask dispute. The airline’s chief executive called the violent encounter on the flight to California from New York “one of the worst displays of unruly behavior we have ever seen.”

In May, a Californian woman on a Southwest Airlines flight repeatedly punched a flight attendant, bloodying her face and chipping three teeth, after she was told to buckle her seatbelt, put on place his tablet and to “wear his face mask correctly”.

Thousands of other episodes involving unruly passengers have taken place in recent years, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. On Tuesday, the agency said it had received 151 reports of unruly passengers, 92 linked to face masks, since January 1. Last year, it received 5,981 unruly passenger reports and 4,290 mask-related incidents.

Andres R. Martinezcontributed report.

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