Well-Being Prevention & Cures

International flight forced to turn back due to passenger mask dispute

Story at a glance

  • An America Airlines flight from Miami to London reportedly turned back when a customer refused to wear a mask.
  • The plane turned back toward Miami about 500 miles into the flight.
  • There have been at least 151 reports of unruly passengers in 2022, with 92 related to masks.

An America Airlines flight from Miami to London reportedly turned back when a customer refused to wear a mask in compliance with COVID-19 policy.  

The plane turned back toward Miami about 500 miles into the flight when it was near North Carolina, The New York Times reported. Law enforcement officials were reportedly waiting at the gate upon the flights return.  

“American Airlines flight 38 with service from Miami (MIA) to London (LHR) returned to MIA due to disruptive customer refusing to comply with the federal mask requirement,” American Airlines said in a statement, according to CBS 4.  

“The flight landed at MIA where local law enforcement met the aircraft. We thank our crew for their professionalism and apologize to our customers for the inconvenience.” 


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There have been at least 151 reports of unruly passengers in 2022, with 92 related to masks, according to the Federal Aviation Administration 

The agency announced a zero-tolerance policy in 2021, saying “passengers who interfere with, physically assault, or threaten to physically assault aircraft crew or anyone else on an aircraft face stiff penalties, including fines of up to $35,000 and imprisonment.”  

“This dangerous behavior can distract, disrupt, and threaten crew members’ safety functions,” a statement said. 


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