A traveler on Spirit Airlines came into conflict with the airline’s mask police when the American flag face covering he was wearing was ruled out of bounds.
A video of the incident was posted to Twitter, quickly making it into a social media sensation.
The passenger was wearing a neck gaiter that covered his nose and mouth. The gaiter featured the design of the American flag.
The video kicks in with the debate over the passenger’s face covering already underway.
— michael (@mikeampd) September 18, 2020
“I’m wearing a mask,” the traveler says.
“No,” the flight attendant says in return. “What do you have underneath it?”
The traveler insists he is in fact wearing a mask while the flight attendant says it “isn’t legal to wear.”
“Legal by who?” the passenger asks, and then films himself, allowing viewers to see the American flag gaiter he is wearing.
After the flight attendant says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was the authority being cited, the passenger says, “show me those rules.”
“I don’t have to show you the rules,” the flight attendant replies.
“I don’t have to wear the mask that you gave me,” the passenger says. “I’m wearing the mask that I have. … I’ve been on 20 flights with this same exact mask.”
After each says they are done debating, the flight attendant says he would “have the authorities waiting for you when we land.”
“Sounds good,” the passenger replies as the video ends.
Although some social media voices said a face covering with the flag upon it should have been respected, the airline said the style of the covering, and not the design upon it, was the issue.
— Spirit Airlines (@SpiritAirlines) September 18, 2020
“Safety is Spirit’s number one priority, which is why our face covering policy adheres to CDC guidelines. Our policy requires that all face coverings fit snugly cover the nose and mouth, be secure under the chin and have at least two layers of fabric. The CDC cautions that gaiters may not be effective, which is why we require Guests to either double-up neck gaiters so they’re dual-layered and hug the chin, or to wear a standard ear-loop face covering,” Spirit said in a statement posted on Twitter.
“Spirit Airlines proudly welcomes anyone onboard who wants to show their pride with an American flag on a face covering that complies with our policy. Our flight attendants asked the Guest in this video to double up his gaiter. When he refused, they offered him an ear-loop mask to place under his gaiter, and he refused that option, too,” the airline said.
Despite that, the airline was judged harshly on Twitter:
RADICAL LIBERAL from @SpiritAirlines says that an American Flag bandana is NOT and Appropriate face covering to wear!!! These @TheDemocrats are getting more and more demented https://t.co/z6MMtcypYz
— GoldenStateTimes.com 🇺🇸 (@Goldstatetimes) September 20, 2020
What a disgrace https://t.co/7DOiP6Hcry
— Richard citizen journalist (@DPotcner) September 18, 2020
Wow @spiritairlines -Your OWN mask policy shows this passenger’s closed-chin, multi-layer mask is in full compliance with the rules. Your discriminatory employee didn’t like the American flag. Targeted political harassment. BAD BUSINESS. Apologize!https://t.co/H1kcsaGeeL https://t.co/LSzhmHZV9v
— Michelle Malkin (@michellemalkin) September 18, 2020
“All face coverings must fit snugly cover the nose and mouth and be secure under the chin and have at least two layers of fabric (e.g. disposable non-medical face mask, multi-layered cloth face covering),” the airline’s guidelines read.
“The following items are not considered appropriate face coverings: open-chin triangle bandanas, face coverings containing valves or mesh material, and face shields. Face shields may be worn in addition to a face covering but are not approved as a face covering replacement.”
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.