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An airline passenger and a flight attendant got into a “spirited” debate about whether wearing an American flag neck gaiter constitutes a CDC-approved face mask.
According to the flight attendant in the incident that occurred on a Spirit Airlines flight, the facial covering in question was non-compliant with purported Centers for Disease Control regulations (after first wanting to know what was “underneath” the gaiter.)
In the video embedded clip below, the neck-gaiter-wearing passenger expressed skepticism about the flight attendant’s premise and responded by saying “show me those rules.”
“I don’t have to show you the rules,” the attendant replied.
“I don’t have to wear the mask that you gave me; I’m wearing the mask that I have,” the passenger insisted. “I’ve literally been on 20 flights with this same exact mask.”
They did reach agreement on one thing, however. They were both “done talking.”
The flight attendant concluded the exchange by warning the passenger that the authorities would be waiting for him when the plane landed. It’s not clear, however, if police actually arrested him after the plane touched down.
In a statement to Fox News, the air carrier denied that the American flag pattern played a role in the dispute. “Instead, the spokesperson stated that this came down to an issue about health and safety procedures. Additionally, the flight attendant was concerned about the gaiter not including at least two layers of cloth, per the Spirit Airlines’ policy stated on its website.”
“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,” Spirit claimed.
In a tweet, Spirit Airlines added that “Safety is Spirit Airlines’ first priority. The CDC cautions that gaiters may not be effective, and we require Guests to double up gaiters so they’re dual-layered. We welcome Guests who want to show their pride with an American flag on a face covering that meets with our policy.”
Safety is Spirit Airlines’ first priority. The CDC cautions that gaiters may not be effective, and we require Guests to double up gaiters so they’re dual-layered. We welcome Guests who want to show their pride with an American flag on a face covering that meets with our policy.
— Spirit Airlines (@SpiritAirlines) September 19, 2020
On its website, Spirit explains that “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).”
Unlike other airlines, Spirit doesn’t allow any medical exemptions from its face mask policy.
Twitter users chimed in on the argumentative encounter. Here is just a sample:
I am a retired flight attendant. This is absolutely absurd. We are given a set of rules, and are discouraged from thinking outside the box. Some folks don’t even know where the box is. Apparently this flight attendant is one of them…
🙋🏻♀️ Buh-Bye, braindead!
— Reneéssance (@reneebrauner) September 18, 2020
@SpiritAirlines well any business i might have thrown your way in the depressing times is gone! CDC says face coverings. Your flight attendants do NOT get to determine, based on what they want, is a face covering. Half the people wearing neck gaiters!
— sue (@sue10735376) September 19, 2020
The one and only lesson I’ve learned from 2020: NEVER fly @SpiritAirlines
— Donte Gilmore (@DonteGilmore2) September 18, 2020
It also states you should never touch your mask which the flight attendant clearly did which jeopardized the entire plane. Technically if they are all social distanced in the plane then a mask isn’t required according to the CDC.
— Joseph Presto (@Drakulya240) September 19, 2020
Flight attendants are trained professionals who are closer to EMTs than bartenders, despite what you think. They are trying to protect themselves and passengers from Covid. How dare they use science and facts to regulate mask usage. FLYING isn’t a right, they can kick you off.
— Brian (@casperhoyt) September 18, 2020
Introducing the Air Karen…
— Anglokaner (@Anglokaner) September 18, 2020
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