A man claims he was thrown off a Southwest Airlines flight for not making between bites of candy.
Man Kicked Off Southwest Flight For Not Masking Between Bites
Avi Mandel was traveling on Southwest Airlines between Baltimore (BWI) and Fort Lauderdale (FLL). Onboard, he was enjoying a stick of Twizzlers candy and had lowered his mask to eat it. But because he did not replace his mask between bites, he claimed he was thrown off the flight.
“I just got kicked out of a plane because I wasn’t wearing my mask in between. bites while I was eating.
“It’s so sad. It’s so wrong. It was absurd. The way I was treated was absolutely absurd. It was crazy and it wasn’t fair.”
Mandel readily admits that prior to takeoff he lowered his mask to start eating candy. A flight attendant told him to put his mask back on, but Mandel indicated he was eating.
The flight attendant then made an announcement on the PA system noting, “Everyone who eats should wear masks between bites.”
There was no other warning, but prior to takeoff the aircraft returned to the gate. Security personnel boarded and escorted Mandel off.
Another passenger on the flight was captured on video stating:
“This is so wrong. He didn’t do anything wrong, wow.”
Mandel has admitted he did not wear a mask between flights, claiming, “If I had known this rule in advance, I would have happily listened, but had no idea.”
In reality, President Biden’s Executive Order does not mandate making between bites. Instead, it exempts the wearing of masks:
While eating, drinking, or taking medication, for brief periods.
While eating, drinking, or taking oral medications for brief periods.
of mask removal are not permitted for eating or drinking; the mask must be worn between bites and sips.
Mandel wishes the rule had been more clearly communicated:
“I think it could be managed a lot better, and I think the rule could have been better placed. I always play by the rules. I am on their plane, I understand, but it was not a rule that I knew and it was not explained to me. I didn’t see him anywhere at the time, so for me it wasn’t a rule that I was breaking. If I had known, I obviously would have done things differently, but you have to tell someone the rule to follow it.”
But wasn’t he reminded of the rule by a flight attendant?
A Southwest spokesperson noted that its “face cover policy is communicated throughout the reservation and check-in process, and it is the responsibility of its crew to enforce federal regulations.”
Ignorance of the law is generally not an excuse for breaking the law. Still, I fail to understand cases in which passengers are not given a chance to correct their mistake. It seems there was miscommunication at play here, resulting in a situation that likely could have been avoided.