A Spirit Airlines’ passenger who was wearing an American-flag themed neck gaiter as a mask touched off a viral, caught-on-camera altercation when he refused to switch the face covering that an airline attendant said was “not legal.”
The exchange, recorded by the passenger and posted to social media last week, prompted the airline to release a statement clarifying that it follows the guidance of the CDC, which says “gaiters may not be effective.”
In the clip, posted to Twitter by SV News, the man repeatedly asks the attendant to “show me those rules” put out by CDC regarding the use of gaiters for a face covering.
“I don’t have to wear the mask that you gave me,” the passenger says, according to the video. “I’m wearing the mask that I have … I’ve been on 20 flights with this same exact mask.”
Before the attendant walks away, he told the passenger the airline would “have the authorities waiting for you when we land.”
It’s unclear if that ended up being the case, but the airline last Friday responded to the confrontation.
“Safety is Spirit’s number one priority, which is why our face covering policy adheres to CDC guidelines,” the airline said.
“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 switch to a standard ear-loop face covering.”
Spirit Airlines said the passenger refused to double his gaiter or wear an alternative mask. They also denied that the man was targeted because of the design of his gaiter.
“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.”
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