- An American Airlines passenger was arrested in New Orleans after refusing to wear a mask, police said.
- An airline spokesperson confirmed to Insider that the plane returned to the gate due to the dispute.
- Witnesses told The New Orleans Advocate that the woman was heard screaming while being led away.
An American Airlines passenger caused significant disruption to a flight in New Orleans after refusing to wear a mask or exit the plane.
Airline spokesperson Derek Walls confirmed to Insider that the plane, which was heading to Dallas on Friday, had to return to the gate after the passenger ignored multiple requests to wear a mask.
The New Orleans Advocate (Nola) reported that the flight was preparing to leave Louis Armstrong International Airport on Friday but was delayed for up to an hour due to the mask incident, according to the report.
After being removed, the woman could be heard screaming for approximately 10 minutes on the gangway, where she was held by deputies until the plane taxied again, according to the Nola report.
“I’ve never seen anything quite like it before,” Patrick Maney, who was also on the plane, told Nola.
He added: “Two heavily armed police came and told the lady to get off. She refused, and they then told her to get up. She was screaming and resisting as they hauled her up and put some kind of restraints on her hands behind her back.”
The passenger was arrested at around 10 a.m. CST, Captain Jason Rivarde, a spokesperson for Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office, told Nola.
According to the outlet, officials said the passenger was ticketed for four misdemeanors: disturbing the peace, remaining in a place after being forbidden, resisting arrest, and simple assault.
American Airlines told Insider in a statement: “Flight 1768 with service from New Orleans (MSY) to Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) was delayed due to a disturbance in the cabin where a customer failed to comply with the federal face mask requirement. We thank our crew for their professionalism and our customers for their understanding.”
The incident follows a series of mask-related disputes on planes at a time when violence is spiking.
Most recently, a California family had to leave a Southwest Airlines flight after their toddler could not keep his face mask on, as Insider reported.
The family is vowing to never fly on the airline again after accusing the airline of treating them like criminals.
Another American Airlines flight had to be canceled after a group of high school students refused to wear masks. As a result of the incident, the flight had to be delayed overnight and passengers had to stay in airport hotels.