A family holiday to Hawaii almost ended before it began on the weekend. A crew member asked a family group of 20 to leave an American Airlines flight about to depart Salt Lake City on Sunday after one of them was pinged for incorrectly wearing a face mask.
Multiple media outlets are reporting the tale of Mr Scott Wilson and his family’s holiday almost going off the rails. The ten adults and ten children were on American Airlines flight AA1214 to Dallas on Sunday. That’s the early morning 05:40 departure from Salt Lake City. After cooling their heels at Dallas Fort Worth for an hour or so, the group was to board AA5, the late morning flight to Honolulu. After nearly nine hours on a Boeing 777-200, the beaches of Hawaii beckoned for Mr Wilson and his kids.
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Minor face mask issue with one family member, but entire group off the plane
As Mr Wilson tells it, the family group had settled into their seats on the Airbus A321 at Salt Lake City when one person’s mask accidentally slipped beneath their nose. That was quickly corrected, but an eagle-eyed American Airlines flight attendant spotted the lapse. A short time later, he came and told the group of ten adults and ten children they had to leave the flight.
A Daily Mail report based on a now-deleted report on Salt Lake City TV channel, KSL-TV, quotes Mr Wilson.
“I’m sorry, it has to be the whole family,” he says the crew member said. A spokesperson for American Airlines told Simple Flying, the passengers “were reported to be noncompliant with our mandatory face-covering policy. Per procedure, the customers involved were asked to exit the aircraft before departure and the flight departed for DFW shortly after.”
American Airlines enforces a strict face mask policy
Like other United States-based airlines, American Airlines has a strict policy regarding masks on its flights. That policy came into effect in May.
“A face covering will be required by each passenger while onboard an American flight,” said Kurt Stache, Senior Vice President of Customer Experience at the time.
“The American Airlines team continues to prioritize the safety of our customers and team members, and requiring a face covering is one more way we can protect those on our aircraft.”
Generally, only infants and toddlers under two years of age escape the American Airlines’ face mask policy. The youngest passenger in the group kicked off the plane was reported to be three years old. It’s not known whether that child was the cause of the problem. The family group included children aged between three and 13 years.
Day saved by good work from other American Airlines employees
According to Mr Wilson, the relevant crew member had brought a fairly poor attitude to work on Sunday morning and was not only giving his family grief.
“He was yelling at other people as they came on, too, and he was already mad at these guys. They didn’t do anything.”
Fortunately, other American Airlines employees at Salt Lake City Airport were more proactive in their customer service. The family group went onto different flights on different airlines, but they eventually made it to Hawaii. Scott Wilson was full of praise for them. He says the Salt Lake City American Airlines agents said;
“He (the crew member) is the one with the problem. You guys did nothing wrong. We’ve never seen anything like this. We’ve never had a situation like this, and he was totally in the wrong by doing what he did.”
What do you think? Should the crew member have cut the family group some slack, or was he right to ask them to leave the flight? Post a comment and let us know.