The male, who can be seen holding a bag of peanuts, defends himself saying: “Yeah, because I am eating. They said if I am eating…”
In response, the airline worker states: “Here’s the deal: The crew does not want you on this flight. I’m not going to delay another three people to argue this with you.”
Other’s onboard the flight, including the female behind the camera, leap in to question the decision.
“So, we’re not allowed to eat with our masks off – is that what you are saying?” asks the woman.
“He did cooperate,” a second woman on the flight adds.
“He put his mask on, he took it off when he started eating the nuts.
“That was it, I was sitting here.”
The male passenger adds: “I complied, I put it on after they asked me to.
“I am wearing the mask, I am just eating right now.”
In a statement following the event, Chris Mainz, a spokesperson for Southwest Airlines, told Newsweek: “Our reports indicate that a customer travelling 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. Therefore, 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.
“Our policy clearly states that we require all customers over the age of two to wear a face-covering or face mask while travelling to help prevent the transmission of COVID-19.
“We communicate this policy to all customers at multiple touchpoints throughout the travel journey including during booking, in a pre-trip email sent prior to departure, and during a required acknowledgement that’s part of the Customer Health Declaration Form which appears during the check-in process.”