American Airlines released a statement defending the actions of a pilot who said he would “drop this plane down in the middle of Kansas and dump people” if they didn’t behave on a flight out of Washington DC on Friday.
One of the passengers on the flight, which departed Reagan National Airport for Phoenix Sky Harbor in Phoenix, Arizona, had shared a video on social media over the weekend showing many travelers – several of whom appeared to be carrying MAGA red hats – chanting “USA, USA” in an ad above.
Another video shared on Twitter captures the pilot’s remarks, in which he threatens to “dump” disruptive passengers in Kansas.
“This is how it’s going to be. Um, it’s a four and a half hour flight to Phoenix. We’re going to drop this plane in the middle of Kansas and dump the people – I don’t care, “the pilot said. “It’s… we’ll do this if that’s what it takes.” So behave, please. ”
The woman who uploaded the first video, conservative activist Mindy Robinson, also suggested in her tweet that the chants of “USA” were what elicited the pilot’s reaction, although American Airlines has since suggested that some of passengers refused to comply with the current mask warrant.
“Prior to departure from Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA), the pilot aboard Flight 1242 made an announcement stressing the importance of following crewmembers’ instructions and complying with mandatory protection policies facial, ”said a representative of the carrier in a statement obtained. by Fox News.
Robinson herself had also hinted that passengers chanting “USA” were not following “all the rules,” which is exactly what is required of commercial airline passengers, according to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the private airline industry itself. Another Twitter user who responded to her video noted this, writing: “It’s a private business. You follow their rules or you don’t get their service. This is how free markets work. ”
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Friday’s incident is just one of many instances where airlines have responded to disruptive passengers following riots on the U.S. Capitol, in which crowds of Trump supporters hammered the entrance and stormed the building. Alaska Airlines last week banned 14 passengers who refused to wear masks and harassed crew members aboard a flight from DC to Seattle. And on Thursday, American Airlines confirmed that it will no longer serve alcohol on flights to and from the DC area “as a precaution,” just a day after Trump supporters on a Texas flight. in DC clashed with other passengers after landing at Dulles International Airport.
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Responding to the events of last week, Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA-CWA), has since called for a ban on anyone who participated in the tweeting that such violations could result in fines. up to $ 35,000.
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“Federal law prohibits you from physically assaulting or threatening to physically assault the crew, and anyone else, on board an aircraft. You could be subject to fines of up to $ 35,000 and jail for such conduct, ”the FAA tweeted.