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.
Brief periods are not defined by the Executive Order, but are clarified in a TSA directive:
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.
Thank you for writing about this. I certainly don’t mask between bites either, but I also don’t remove my mask to eat until we’re in the air.
Hey at least we don’t have that mean orange man who says mean things on twitter!……
Had enough of this nonsense yet?
I was threatened with expulsion for sipping coffee on a flight late last year after asking for the rules.
The aggressive flight attendant didn’t explain the rules.
Interesting to note, most of the passengers were doing the same thing after the water and pretzels were handed out, without consequence.
Lesson: It helps to know the rules.
I think you’re just safest nodding in agreement and even apologizing when confronted by FAs. Defending yourself or you actions, even if you’re right won’t lead you anywhere except back to the terminal.
Yeah but we shouldn’t have to live in fear of the rude stormtroopers. This is wrong. Screw them and their copy and paste newson California rules
This was before takeoff. He should have just waited until after takeoff to start eating.
I believe you were incorrect regarding the Biden mandate not requiring masks between bites and sips
“Travelers are permitted for brief periods to remove masks for eating, drinking, or taking medications but masks “must be worn between bites and sips,” TSA said.”
Blame this on Biden and those who voted for him. The FA did her job correctly based upon the idiotic regulations
You are correct! Thanks Derek.
Matthew, the TSA Security Directive does indeed require that masks be worn between sips and bites. See SD1544-21-02A (https://www.tsa.gov/sd-and-ea). Commercial air carriers are required to implement and enforce that rule, including deplaning passengers who do not comply.
Thanks Kacee for the reference. I’ve updated the post.
I’ll add that as I understand it, this provision is intended to reach the many passengers who have milked the “I’m eating exception” to stay unmasked for very lengthy periods of time. I’ve been traveling throughout the pandemic, and this has been an all-too-common experience, i.e, the dude who eats one chip a minute for 60 minutes, or milks a single bottle of water for an hour.
Interestingly, I have not seen this and I’ve flown quite a bit during the pandemic. That said, I’ve written about it and I am sure it happens fairly often.
“Derp, I’m eating…at the moment I’m just between lunch and dinner.”
I’ve watched too many Trumpian morons exhibit this behavior.
It’s so frigging easy to slip a piece of food or water bottle under your mask for the split second you need to. If this past year has shown us one thing, it’s that bold, brash, loud, boostraps-preaching Trumpers are the most sniveling, weak, delicate snowflakes in existence who are even unable to breathe through a thin piece of fabric or move the same light, gentle fabric aside with one hand to feed themselves.
I shouldn’t have to slip food under my mask. That violates cdc guidance to keep your mask clean. It endangers people and is oppressive bs from scared but vaccinated and sage people. You are safe. Calm down. No need to pull out the firing squad of stormtroopers
Matthew, Isn’t the doctrine that states that ignorance of the law is no defence called ‘ignorantia juris non excusat’?
You piss and moan about Trumpian boot lickers, yet you are championing an order that goes against the science. One should not repeatedly touch their mask, that is what we have been advised. Yet, we are being told to constantly touch our masks during meals.
An order that would be safer would be no eating or drinking allowed on board at all
Derek, you and the other Trumpers are equating wearing NO mask with touching the mask. There is clearly a much, much, much less risk touching surfaces – as we’ve learned over the past year – with this virus, particularly if you then practice normal hand hygeine. To pretend “if you touch your mask, you may as well not be wearing one” is idiotic and the civilized world has moved on from that view.
First, I did NOT vote Trump. You commies need to stop with the BS that everyone who doesn’t agree with your worldview is unintelligent.
Second, what about getting the mask dirty. Does that not create a bacteria growth risk?
It is better to just have no food or drink onboard
Mask mandate extended through September. No exemption if vaccinated
Joe saved us once again! The brilliance of the gov’t is truly insurmountable at this point- just great clear messaging and sensical polices. Creating vaccine hesitancy with every extension of COVID theater….
Can we defund flight attendants? They are the nut low. Nobody is scared of terrorists anymore just flight attendants.
Where on earth does such a silly idea come from that grabbing the bottom of the outside of the mask (on a surgical mask, the white “frame”) is going to make it “dirty” and create a “bacterial growth risk” that is somehow more than negligible, particularly if one practices even moderately good hand hygeine?
Not allowing people to drink water onboard is not a solution and creates all sorts of other avenues for nonsense like accusations of causing people to starve or go into diabetic shock or other histrionics that mask-haters have been coming up with for the past year. Polite, easy, trouble free, low-risk sips and bites can co-exist with mask wearing for normal humans.
Let me eat my food in peace. Stay home. You are nonessential. We lived without you scared people. We don’t need you anymore. Us essentials lived and worked for you to stay home and be supported
Greg, I agree but it’s even easier than that. I can almost subconsciously use my pinky fingernail to effortlessly lift the bottom of my mask and take a bite or a drink, then lower it right back into place. It’s really no issue at all (acknowledging that those missing limbs might have more steps).
I don’t understand the “histrionics” as you put it. The complaining reminds me of a TV infomercial in which the actors have the most difficult time doing the most basic primate tasks.
Except for this comment, I have not commented.
I am derek, not Derek.
The libs are obsessed with the security blanket over their mouth/ nose and they want to make sure all sheep obey. We are being told the vaccines work so why am I having to wear a mask after contracting the virus last year and also having been vaccinated 2x? Where is the science to back this up? I have antibodies and the vaccine so my chances of infecting anyone else are extremely low.
Another mouth breather whose lungs can’t pull air past a piece of fabric.
How long does a stick if candy last you? He started it before getting on the flight and continued on after seating. Who really doesn’t think he thought he was being clever and getting around the intention of the rules? I can imagine his smug look as he waved the stick saying he was eating when the attendant asked him to put in his mask.
Any way you write the rules some will just find ways around it. If the candy and getting the attention is worth risking your travel then I guess go for it, I see a law suit coming.
Hope the twizzlers were worth it.
There’s still a pandemic going on. Air travel is still problematic. And you can go without eating that candy flavored plastic crap for the 90 minutes or so you’re stuck on that plane.
But hey, this gives something for emasculated right wing troglodytes to whine about, so not a complete loss.
And you don’t need to fly since you are scared. In fact you don’t have the right to. Stay home before your blind compliance spreads. You fear doesn’t change that this is bs put on by Biden. Only shot hole California lead by Newsom pushed this mask in between bites and sips bs.
For me the upside of the story is how he handled himself. A gentleman to be sure!
I’m not so sure that I would have done the same but after all we’ve seen lately I think I’ll follow his lead.
It’s so uniquely American: HAD to start eating a candy bar even before the plane takes off. Actually, only generational American: the ME, ME, ME/ NOW, NOW, NOW generation (..it’s MY freedom and the rest of you can go to hell…). Pathetic.
Read a history book. America has never been a compliant slave nation. I think you should go back home to Britain with your master
Clearly an anti Semitic action. I wish Avi would have identified it as it really was. Perhaps the sizable Jewish community in FTL will protest.
“We are being told the vaccines work so why am I having to wear a mask after contracting the virus last year and also having been vaccinated 2x? Where is the science to back this up? I have antibodies and the vaccine so my chances of infecting anyone else are extremely low.”
Vaccines work for the person who took the vaccine, in that your chances of being affected by the virus have rapidly diminished. You can still spread the virus even if you are vaccinated, and wearing a mask even if vaccinated helps slow down or even stop the spreading of it, which not only keeps the virus in play but also gives it time to mutate further. But who needs real science, I suppose…
Any data point on whether it was Halloween sized or the full foot long candy rope? Remarkable to see a grown man defend his integrity as a twizzler consuming rule follower on the local news. The FA should have given him a direct warning eye to eye before calling the police to escort him off the plane.
Your comment is grossly misleading, whether by intention or ignorance is unclear. While it’s true that the extent to which vaccines prevent transmission is unclear ( and the subject of trials and studies around the world), the preliminary evidence is that they do indeed reduce the likelihood of transmission, at the very least. Your comment tries to imply they’re useless, and yet you’re the one imploring a reliance on science? Extraordinary….
Try to keep up, Paolo, I realize critical thinking isn’t one of your strong suits. Vaccines reduce the likely hood of transmitting the virus to someone else but do not completely eliminate the chances of transmitting the virus to someone else. Hence the need to keep wearing a mask even if you have been vaccinated. It’s not that hard to understand. Well, maybe for some it is. Your lack of understand simple text is what is extraordinary.
Absolutely ridiculous! I’ve flown over half a dozen times during all periods of the pandemic and never mask up between “bites and sips”. I cannot chew with my mask on and my hands/mouth area need to be wiped when eating a meal. It’s entrapment to serve snacks, meals, and drinks and ask people to literally sip and then mask between short 2 and 3 second intervals – that does nothing. Gosh, I hate this pandemic so much. We’re all being treated like we’re constantly sick, even after having the vaccine, and being treated like criminals. Enough is enough. Fly at your own risk!