Shocking footage has shown the moment a man was kicked off his flight when he temporarily removed his face mask to eat.
Here's what we know so far...
The incident happened onboard a Southwest Airlines flight from Tampa to Dallas.
via: GettyThe passenger, who just so happened to be sporting a "Black Voices for Trump" hat, was booted from his flight after he pulled down his face mask to eat a snack.
Footage from the scene quickly began to circulate online...
via: GettyBut opinions were seriously divided.
While many were a little confused by the airline's response to the situation...
@SVNewsAlerts @DavidLimbaugh @SouthwestAir What did he do wrong?????— Chrissy (@Chrissy)1602634506.0
Now, we all know that face masks have been slowly becoming mandatory in a whole array of public spaces...
via: GettyPublic transport included.
In an effort to help reduce the spread of COVID-19, the CDC recommends that people wear masks or cloth face coverings while using tightly-confined modes of transport.
via: GettySuch as buses, trains, and airplanes.
But, due to the recycled and filtered air in airplane cabins...
via: GettyIf someone carrying the virus coughs or sneezes while onboard an aircraft, any present strain of the virus will circulate at a much quicker speed than it would in any other mode of transport.
This is why most major airlines have made the decision to enforce strict COVID regulations upon all passengers, such as the requirement of face masks.
via: GettyAnd, if any passenger refuses to wear a protective face covering, the airline withholds the right to escort them from the aircraft... Unless they're taking a quick drink or bite to eat, that is.
And this brings us swiftly back to our story.
via: GettyAs stated earlier, a passenger was asked to leave his flight when, just before takeoff, he was seen temporarily pulling down his mask to eat a bag of mixed nuts.
Another passenger filmed the interaction...
via: TwitterWhich was posted online and quick to gain viral attention.
People were not impressed with Southwest Airline's handling of the situation...
@SVNewsAlerts @SouthwestAir So why is @SouthwestAir selling food/beverages on their flights if you cant eat/drink t… https://t.co/ssDzl4LNX5— Debs 🌼 (@Debs 🌼)1602641678.0
@SVNewsAlerts @SouthwestAir Have heard many horror stories about people flying. The flight staff having the power t… https://t.co/FajQltmE3T— JShay (@JShay)1602639346.0
@SVNewsAlerts @imjdsharp @SouthwestAir Good on this lady for standing up for that man who’s done nothing wrong.… https://t.co/Tz5XCXs5Wo— ☆Pri☆ (@☆Pri☆)1602681157.0
@SVNewsAlerts @SouthwestAir I flew @SouthwestAir on Sunday. They stated during the preflight instructions that you… https://t.co/F2KPKMspSP— Matthew Patterson (@Matthew Patterson)1602648221.0
However, many saw it as a blatant example of discrimination...
@HW_Floyd I see @SouthwestAir is racist!!!! Would you look at that!!! Pure discrimination against a black man!! Wow— B (@B)1602642712.0
@SVNewsAlerts @SouthwestAir This is crap . I just flew on 9 separate flights in 30 days and you are allowed to lowe… https://t.co/vNaacnDJH2— Nancy Springer (@Nancy Springer)1602679710.0
@SVNewsAlerts @SouthwestAir This is literal discrimination based on his political views— Walk 🇺🇸 (@Walk 🇺🇸)1602631950.0
@SVNewsAlerts @SouthwestAir Sad very sad. But not surprised. Leave politics out of the job. You are paid to provide… https://t.co/eeDOI6W0s6— Crazy Horse (@Crazy Horse)1602638905.0
@SVNewsAlerts @SouthwestAir @SouthwestAir make this right! That our country is so divided like this is appalling, a… https://t.co/6KLYeo7zN9— wendy bradford (@wendy bradford)1602640478.0
Donald Trump Jr. even weighed in on the incident.
WTF??? This is disgusting. I’ve been on a thousand flights in the last few months and everyone lowers their masks t… https://t.co/NZ15rLA4ZU— Donald Trump Jr. (@Donald Trump Jr.)1602637736.0
In the video, the passenger can be seen with his mask pulled down to his chin as he talks to a member of the cabin crew...
via: TwitterWhile the woman filming can be heard saying: "Tell us the policy that says he cannot eat with his mask off? It’s the hat and the mask - it’s not the eating."
The air steward can be heard threatening to call the police...
via: TwitterAs the passenger, visibly confused by the whole thing, shakes his head in disbelief.
In a second video, after around 2 minutes of confrontation, the passenger can be seen walking off the aircraft.
via: TwitterHowever, a representative for the airline, whose policy requires all passengers over the age of 2 to wear face coverings on flights, insists the ejection came after multiple employees asked him to wear a face covering, the Washington Examiner reported.
Southwest Airlines had this to say:
via: Getty“Our reports indicate that a Customer traveling on Flight 2632, with scheduled service from Tampa to Dallas, was asked repeatedly by more than one employee at different times to wear a face mask. The customer did not comply with our crew’s multiple verbal requests - including while boarding the flight before seated."
They say the passenger was reseated on a different flight.
via: GettyThe rep continued: "The decision was made to return to the gate and re-accommodate him on a later flight to his final destination after receiving assurances he would comply with our face-covering policy. We regret the inconvenience the situation created for all involved, but our crew must uphold the well-being and comfort of all Passengers."
The ejected passenger is yet to speak out about his experience.
Trump supporter gets kicked off @SouthwestAir for lowering his Trump mask to eat peanuts!!! #BoycottSouthwestAir… https://t.co/o58dXIveMa— Art TakingBack 🇺🇸 (@Art TakingBack 🇺🇸)1602640564.0