Alaska Airlines Bans 14 Passengers for Not Wearing Masks
Departing the Washington, D.C. area a day after the Capitol riots, these passengers were "argumentative" and "harassed" the crew members.
After causing a commotion on a cross-country flight from Dulles International Airport to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport last Thursday, 14 passengers who defied mask-wearing mandates have been banned by Alaska Airlines.
"A number of passengers on board Alaska Airlines flight 1085 from Washington Dulles to Seattle were non-mask compliant, rowdy, argumentative, and harassed our crew members," the airline said in a statement provided to Travel + Leisure about the Jan. 7 incident. "Their behavior was unacceptable. Because of their actions and noncompliance, we have banned 14 of those passengers from future travel with us. We apologize to our other guests who were made uncomfortable on the flight."
While the purpose of these particular travelers' trips is unknown, the timing of their flight came one day after people flew in from across the country to riot at the U.S. Capitol.
The incident took place as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to reach record highs in the country. In July, Alaska Airlines started handing out yellow warning cards to those who didn't wear a mask on board, and on Aug. 7, 2020, the airline began requiring all passengers to wear a mask with no exceptions. To date, the carrier has banned 302 passengers for noncompliance, and the airline tells T+L that the 14 passengers from Thursday's flight will remain banned "until our mask policy is lifted."
"We will not tolerate any disturbance on board our aircraft or at any of the airports we serve," Alaska Airlines further said in a statement. "We're thankful and appreciative of the efforts of our dedicated crew members, who are committed each day to keeping travel safe and respectful."
The Seattle-based carrier has made mask-wearing a priority on its flights, even parodying the 1982 Men Without Hats song, "Safety Dance," in a music video in December.
Following the Wednesday incident at the Capitol, the Committee on Homeland Security chairman Rep. Bennie G. Thompson said that the rioters should be added to the federal no-fly list. American Airlines also upped its staffing and banned alcohol on flights from D.C. after the riots.