American Airlines removed a mysterious gas mask-wearing man from a Houston-bound flight and rebooked him on another plane after passengers became panicked, airline officials said.
The presence of the man, whose gas mask completely hid his face, unnerved many of those on board Flight 2212 from Dallas to Houston as they waited to take off Thursday evening.
“I had a seat in the back, Say said. I looked up and saw a guy coming onto the plane wearing a full gas mask, which was kind of odd. He didn’t have a filter though — which I thought was even more strange.”
Immediately, people start talking in the back of the plane, said Say. You couldn’t see his face. You couldn’t identify any features on him. People were worried he had sneaked something on board and that he had the mask for his own safety.
The incident caused the flight’s departure to be delayed by almost an hour, Say said.
Just FYI flight 2212 to Houston was delayed an hour because you let this guy on the plane wearing a gas mask. This then panicked people on the plane and we had to wait for him to be escorted off.
My gut reaction was that he was probably worried about the coronavirus and had put on the gas mask as overkill kind of protection, said that. But then I noticed it didn’t have the filter, so that didn’t really make sense.
American Airlines officials subsequently say on Friday that the masked man was rebooked on the next flight to Houston, “and flew without the mask.