- An American Airlines flight had to be canceled Monday after a group of teens refused to wear masks.
- Other passengers said the group, who were on their graduation trip, were being “terrible kids.”
- The flight, which was headed to the Bahamas, didn’t take off until the following morning.
An American Airlines flight to the Bahamas was canceled, and its passengers were delayed overnight after a group of high school students refused to wear their face masks.
Flight 893 was about to depart from Charlotte, North Carolina, on Monday night when a mechanical issue forced 172 passengers to switch to a different airplane.
As they were waiting to be reboarded, some of the students in the group refused to follow mask instructions from the crew, a spokesperson for American Airlines told Insider.
“Passengers traveling on American Airlines Flight 893 from Charlotte to Nassau, Bahamas were reported to be noncompliant with the federal mask mandate, became disruptive to other customers, and refused to follow crew member instructions while onboard,” the spokesperson said.
According to the Washington Post, some group members were also playing music with “profane” lyrics through a speaker and failing to stay in their seats on the plane.
—Ron Filipkowski (@RonFilipkowski) July 7, 2021
A fellow passenger identified as Malik Banks told WSOC-TV 9 that around 80 percent of the people in the group — which was seated near him — “were being terrible kids.”
Another passenger, Christina Randolph, said: “All they had to do was follow the rules, put the mask on, sit there. No smart-mouth comments. And they couldn’t do it,” according to WSOC-TV.
Randolph is a nurse who said she doesn’t get much time off. “So when you finally get time off, you really want to be somewhere you want to be,” she added.
Travel company Breakaway Beach, which organized the trip for the students, claimed only one person out of 47 was behaving badly even though American Airlines said 30 of the students were involved in the incident, the Post reported.
“(T)he act of one individual is not the responsibility of others, and the students that were abiding by the rules should not have had to endure this type of treatment,” Breakaway Beach president Eugene Winer said in a statement to the Post. “The group was treated in an improper and overly harsh manner, causing unnecessary stress and aggravation to the travelers and their parents from afar.”
As a result of the incident, the flight had to be delayed overnight and passengers had to stay in airport hotels.
The teenagers were allowed to board the new flight the following morning after employees in Charlotte confirmed with them that they would comply with the mask policy, according to CNN.
The incident is one of the latest involving passengers refusing to comply with coronavirus safety measures aboard planes.
Since January 2021, the Federal Aviation Administration has received 2,500 reports of unruly behavior by passengers, most of which involve travelers refusing to comply with the federal mask mandate.
The rise in passenger aggression is having a significant effect on flight attendants across the country, who recently told Insider they’ve been struggling with their mental health.