An American Airlines flight from North Carolina to the Bahamas was delayed by a day after around 30 teenagers refused to wear masks, local media said Tuesday.
Flight 893 was scheduled for take-off from Charlotte Douglas airport late Monday but only left the tarmac on Tuesday morning, with the troublemakers still on board.
An initial delay of several hours was caused by mechanical problems, but when the plane was finally ready to leave arguments broke out between the crew and a group of youths who refused to comply with federal rules that all passengers must wear masks on board flights to fight the spread of Covid-19, local channel WSOC-TV reported.
“It was bad. First, they were yelling. They were cursing. They were being very obnoxious,” witness Malik Banks told the station.
The group of around 30 teens were high school students from Boston celebrating their graduation. They ended up agreeing to wear a mask the next day, after spending a night at the airport. Police made no arrests, local media reported.
The incident reflected a general decline in civility on board planes, according to US carriers. Unions and industry federations last month called on the Department of Justice to take a more systematic approach to prosecuting violent incidents on board flights.
Since Jan 1, 2021, there have been 3,271 incidents involving passengers reported, including 2,475 linked to passengers refusing to wear a mask, according to a press release from the Federal Aviation Administration published on Tuesday.