WATCH | FlySafair offloads ‘unruly’ passenger for refusing to wear mask

30 March 2021 - 11:35 By aron hyman
The passenger was escorted off the flight for allegedly refusing to wear a face mask.
The passenger was escorted off the flight for allegedly refusing to wear a face mask.
Image: Screengrab

An irate passenger who allegedly refused to wear a face mask was escorted off a FlySafair flight preparing to depart from Cape Town International Airport on Tuesday.

FlySafair confirmed the incident on flight FA201 which was due to depart for Johannesburg at 8.50am.

“We regret to confirm there was an incident involving an unruly passenger who was escorted off one of our flights this morning,” said FlySafair chief marketing officer Kirby Gordon.

Videos taken by passengers on the aircraft showed the man launching into a tirade and pointing his finger at other passengers and the cabin crew.

Other male passengers tried to intervene and calm him, placing themselves between him and the cabin crew.

Passengers could be heard telling the man to put on his mask and get off the flight.

Gordon said the altercation started shortly after the doors of the aircraft were closed and the stairs retracted.

“A passenger reacted negatively and aggressively toward the legal requirement that he wear his mask aboard the aircraft,” said Gordon.

“As per required protocol, the captain was immediately informed of the situation and the decision was taken to offload the individual.”

He said the flight deck team powered down and secured the aircraft, which was in the process of departing, and radioed for the police and the stairs to be returned to the aircraft.

The flight eventually departed at 9.10am.

“Customer experience and on-time departures are very important to us, but nothing is more important than safety. We commend our teams for following safety procedure by the book to secure the aircraft and remove the individual, and we thank those customers who assisted our team,” said Gordon.

TimesLIVE reported in February that the airline had implemented a policy in which passengers not wearing a mask would be shown a card pointing out the legal obligation to do so and warning they could face arrest.