(CNN) – Tensions over wearing face masks led to the removal of passengers on Wednesday on an American Airlines flight as airlines enforced stricter security measures.
Passenger Brandon Straka has been asked to get off a flight from New York to Dallas after refusing to wear a face blanket as required by American Airlines policy, the airline confirmed in a statement.
This is the first known incident of this type since the airlines announced that they plan to enforce the wearing of masks more strictly.
American Airlines confirmed the incident in flight 1263 from New York’s LaGuardia to Dallas / Fort Worth, saying Straka refused to wear a protective cover.
“After refusing to follow the flight crew’s instructions, members of our team requested him from the plane. He rescheduled and the flight left the gate four minutes at 12:34 pm ET,” the airline said in a statement.
Straka was re-released on a later flight after agreeing to abide by the company’s rules, the airline said, and the American contacted him for more information about the incident. Straka said he was wearing a mask provided to him by the company, but he took it off once when he boarded the plane and no one complained.
Straka told CNN in a phone interview that the flight was close to leaving when “one of the flight attendants approached me quite aggressively and said, ‘Sir, you have to wear your mask.’ “And I said, ‘Well, I don’t have it.’
Straka is a conservative figure who appeared on Fox News. On his website, he describes himself as a former liberal who encourages people to leave the Democratic Party.
When asked about the masks, Straka said it was an anti-mask for himself, but he sees it as a personal decision. In addition to T-shirts and other items, Straka sells masks on its website.
Stewart said he had to wear a mask to be on the flight, Straka said, noting that it was the law.
“I was just annoyed by the fact that there was no conversation. I told her, ‘That’s not really the law.’ “
Asked by CNN if he had a medical condition, Straka declined to comment, but said: “Yes, it is difficult and forbidden to wear a mask.”
He said he had never had a problem wearing a mask on flights before.
“I fly sometimes two or three times a week, and even during the shutdown I flew at least once every two weeks. I’m pretty used to traveling and it’s literally never been a problem. Not a single trip, not even with this airline,” he said. Straka.
While U.S. aviation officials did not prescribe protective liners for air passengers, the head of the Federal Aviation Administration said Wednesday in Congress that passengers are expected to wear masks when instructed by a flight attendant.
FAA Administrator Steve Dickson said in his testimony that passengers traveling by plane should wear face covers “for their own protection and the protection of those around them. Face covers are especially important in situations where social distancing is impossible.”
CNN’s Pete Muntean and Gregory Wallace contributed to this report.
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