PROVO, Utah (AP) — A man who refused to wear a face mask on a Utah-bound Allegiant flight and was escorted off the plane claims he was treated unfairly by flight attendants and wants an apology from the airline.
Rio Honaker was removed from the Provo-bound flight in Mesa, Arizona, on Saturday after an argument with a flight attendant resulted in Honaker and another passenger getting into a physical altercation.
Honaker says he was following the airline’s face covering rules and that he was not responsible for the fight, KSL-TV reported Tuesday.
Honaker said he wore a face shield and a mask covering only his mouth because wearing a mask over his nose gives him anxiety. Before the flight, Honaker said, he received a message from Allegiant saying he needed to wear a face covering over his mouth and nose. Honaker didn’t think that meant he needed to wear a face mask.
A fight broke out between Honaker and another man who asked him to comply with the rules. Honaker was removed from the plane and cited for disorderly conduct. Video taken by another passenger shows the man in front choking Honaker, pulling his hair and hitting him in the back.
Allegiant Air has said passengers are required to wear a mask that covers their nose and mouth at all times when traveling.