The incident occurred days after the airline doubled down on its mask policy.

By Alison Fox
June 18, 2020
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A passenger refusing to wear a face mask was kicked off an American Airlines flight on Wednesday, according to reports, days after the carrier pledged to strictly enforce its face-covering policy more strictly.

The passenger, Brandon Straka, had boarded a flight from New York’s LaGuardia Airport heading to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport and declined to put on a face covering.

“Prior to the departure from the gate of American Airlines flight 1263 from New York’s LaGuardia to Dallas/Fort Worth, Brandon Straka declined to wear a face covering," a spokesperson from American told Travel + Leisure on Thursday. "After he refused to comply with the instructions provided by the flight crew, our team members asked him to deplane. He deplaned and the flight departed the gate four minutes late at 12:34 p.m. ET"

Straka, a conservative media personality, also took to Twitter and Periscope to recount his experience. A New York Times reporter who happened to be on the flight also posted audio of the encounter.

“Mr. Straka stated to our airport team members that he would comply with our policies, and was rebooked on a later flight," we're told. "Our team is reviewing this incident, and we have reached out to Mr. Straka to get more information.”

Emmanuel Aguirre/Getty

On May 11, American Airlines updated its policy to require all customers to wear a face covering while onboard. On Monday, the airline doubled down on their policy and said in a statement, in collaboration with Airlines for America, it “may also deny future travel for customers who refuse to wear a face covering.”

However, the airline noted that children or those "with a disability or medical reason for why they cannot wear a face covering," are exempt from doing so.

Straka told CNN, that he finds it difficult to wear a mask but declined to comment to the network on whether he had an actual medical condition.

Earlier this week, United Airlines would temporarily ban passengers from flying if they refuse to wear a mask on board, placing them on an internal travel restriction list.