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Passenger allegedly hits American Airlines gate agent after boarding denied for not wearing a mask

A woman was arrested this week after she allegedly hit an American Airlines employee at an airport in Arizona after she was barred from boarding for refusing to comply with the airline company’s mask policy, The Arizona Republic reports.

According to the newspaper, the incident took place on Wednesday at the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.

The woman, 47-year-old Yolanda Yarbrough, had reportedly been bound for Las Vegas after flying into the airport from Los Angeles earlier in the day. During her earlier flight, airline employees had reportedly marked her ticket because she wouldn’t wear a mask.

American Airlines policy not only asks passengers to confirm their COVID-19 status before flying but also requires passengers ages 2 and above to wear face coverings when on board. Those who decline to wear a mask, as the policy states, could be “denied boarding and future travel on American.”

The company told the Republic that the woman was informed that she would not be able to board the connecting flight to Las Vegas after arriving in Phoenix following the reported policy violation.

A company spokesperson told the newspaper that “the individual became irate and struck an American team member in the terminal.” 

The Phoenix Police Department told the Republic that officers were dispatched to the airport’s Terminal 4, where masks are also reportedly required, and were told by the victim “that the suspect had struck him with her hand on his face.”

The woman is now reportedly facing assault charges and has been placed on the company’s “refuse list.”

Delta Air Lines said one of its flights returned to its gate in Detroit late last month after two passengers similarly refused to comply with company policy requiring customers to wear face coverings.

Tags Airlines American Airlines Aviation Coronavirus COVID-19 mask policy Transportation in the United States

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