International Flight Turns Around Over The Atlantic Ocean Over Mask Dispute

By Bill Galluccio

January 20, 2022

Thanksgiving Travel Returns To Near Pre-Pandemic Volumes Across U.S.
Photo: Getty Images

A London-bound American Airlines flight was forced to return to Miami about an hour after takeoff because a passenger refused to wear a mask. The plane was over the Atlantic Ocean when the pilot decided to turn the plane around because of the disruption.

"American Airlines flight 38 with service from Miami (MIA) to London (LHR) returned to MIA due to a disruptive customer refusing to comply with the federal mask requirement," American Airlines said in a statement.

The flight was canceled, leaving the remaining 128 passengers stuck in Miami while other arrangements were made.

"We thank our crew for their professionalism and apologize to our customers for the inconvenience," the statement continued.

There were no reports of injuries to the crew or any of the passengers.

The passenger was escorted off the jet by authorities when the plane returned to the gate. Detective Argemis Colome of the Miami-Dade Police Department told ABC News that the female passenger was not arrested and has not been charged.

American Airlines said the passenger has been placed on a temporary internal no-fly list while the case is investigated by the Federal Aviation Administration.

The FAA has been dealing with a record number of unruly passengers since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. Of the nearly 6,000 complaints, 71% have been related to the federal mandate requiring passengers to wear a mask at all times during flights.

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