American Airlines flight to London returned to MIA after couple refused to wear masks – CBS Miami – Archyde

MIAMI (CBSMiami) — An American Airlines flight from Miami to London was forced to turn back Wednesday night after a couple refused to wear their masks.

Flight 38 was approximately an hour and a half in its flight to Heathrow Airport when it returned and made its way back to Miami International Airport.

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Publicly, American Airlines says only that the flight returned “…due to a disruptive customer refusing to comply with the federal mask requirement.”

A source told CBS4 News that the couple was suspected of being drunk, unsurprisingly to CBS travel editor Peter Greenberg.

“Unless they count the number of people who are already boarding planes drunk, because so many of those cases involve alcohol consumption before boarding the plane – unless they address that this could be the new normal for the rest of the time.” year,” said Greenberg.

CBS4’s source says that among the couple, one more person was the problem.

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The decision not to continue the flight was made because they did not want to fly another 7 hours with disruptive and non-compliant passengers.

The police station told officers to meet the plane at Gate D14. After the plane landed, more than 100 passengers were told they had to disembark.

“We didn’t get any instructions, just said we have to go back and now we can’t get our luggage,” said one passenger.

Many on the plane had no idea why it was returning to Miami.

“Disappointed. They didn’t actually say anything and I don’t think they said anything to the flight attendants because they just said there was an extreme incident and they had to turn back,” said one passenger.

“They just told us to get off and the police were there,” said another passenger.

American Airlines issued a statement apologizing for the inconvenience.

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“American Airlines Flight 38, serving a flight from Miami (MIA) to London (LHR), returned to MIA because a disruptive customer refused to comply with federal mask requirements. The flight landed at MIA, where local law enforcement met the plane. We thank our crew for their professionalism and apologize to our customers for the inconvenience.”

The flight was canceled due to the incident. Many passengers stayed in Miami overnight to catch flights rescheduled for Thursday.

Theresa Green made the most of her unexpected stay.

“They took care of us. They put us up in nice hotels,” Green said. “I had a good day. So I’m fine. I have to see Miami so it’s all good.”

The woman, who refused to wear a mask, was not arrested but was placed on American’s internal no-fly list pending further investigation.

Airlines have frequently grounded passengers for the duration of the pandemic if they refuse to comply with mandatory mask requirements to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Zach Griff is a senior reporter for The Points Guy. “It’s a really costly decision on the part of the airlines to turn the plane around and go back to Miami,” he said.

He says airmen who don’t follow masking rules could face hefty fines and costs.

“That was a significant distraction, I can’t imagine how much that must have cost the airline and we will see if that cost is passed on to the passenger, the offending passenger who caused the recalcitrant incident,” he said he.

Last year, the FAA reported 4,290 mask incidents. So far this year there are 92.

The FAA says recalcitrant passenger problems have been halved over the past year.

“When you take to the skies, just behave. Observe the rules. When you check in for a flight, you agree that you do not have COVID,” Griff said.

The FAA will investigate the case. It could face a fine of up to $37,000.

When we asked the police why the woman was not arrested, they told us that mask violations were not detectable crimes. They went on to say that if there was a fight or a criminal issue, it would be different.

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There is no word on what caused this to escalate to the point where the flight was reversed.

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