American Airlines passenger de-boarded for not wearing mask

American Airlines de-boarded a passenger from a flight after he refused to wear a face covering in compliance with its Covid-19 safety policy.

Brandon Straka was asked to wear a face mask on Flight 1263 from New York to Dallas, Texas, on Wednesday.

When Mr Straka refused, he was asked to leave the flight, the airline said.

Mr Straka said there was no law that required him to wear a face covering on the flight.

“I was just removed from my flight for not wearing a mask. 1st time this has happened. Not a federal law,” Mr Straka tweeted from New York’s LaGuardia Airport.

American Airlines said it had banned Mr Straka until “face coverings are no longer required for customers”.

Face masks have been used to mitigate the risk of spreading coronavirus during the pandemic.

While there is no federal law mandating masks on US flights, all major US airlines have been enforcing face covering rules for passengers and crew since mid-May.

On Monday, American Airlines announced “a stronger policy for customer face coverings”. It said customers who refused to wear face coverings would not be allowed to board and could be banned from future travel.

Mr Straka is a former actor and hairstylist who has appeared as a guest on Fox News, and founded the #WalkAway Campaign, which urges people to disavow their support for the Democratic Party.

The #WalkAway website sells branded merchandise including a $20 (£16) face mask.

The conservative activist described American Airlines’ mask policy as “absolutely insane” and declared, “We don’t even have a choice anymore.”

He said a flight attendant “made a mistake” by telling him “it was the law” to wear a face mask on the plane.

“When I pointed out this was not true, they said, ‘yes it is, yes it is’. Eventually they changed their story to, ‘it’s our policy and if you don’t do it you can’t fly with us’,” he said.

“I said, no-one has even asked me if I have a condition that prevents me from wearing a mask. The whole staff were standing around me, intimidating me.”