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Group disrupts flight from Boston to Bahamas, refuses to wear masks, American Airlines says

American Airlines airplanes at the Charlotte Douglas International Airport in Charlotte, North Carolina in JanuarySandy Huffaker/Bloomberg

A group of more than 30 people who were traveling from Boston to the Bahamas refused to wear masks and became disruptive Monday when they were catching a connecting flight from Charlotte, North Carolina, the airline said.

“Prior to departure on July 5, passengers traveling on American Airlines Flight 893 from Charlotte (CLT) to Nassau, Bahamas (NAS) were reported to be noncompliant with the federal mask mandate, became disruptive to other customers and refused to follow crew member instructions while onboard,” American Airlines said in a statement.

“Per procedure, the customers involved were asked to exit the aircraft. We expect our customers to comply with our policies when they choose to fly with us, and we take action when that is not the case,” the statement said.

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The airline said the group was reminded several times by the crew of the federal mask-wearing requirement imposed because of the coronavirus. It said airline representatives at Charlotte told the customers they could travel if they complied with the mask policy and they ultimately agreed.

The flight was delayed overnight and eventually left Charlotte shortly after 9 a.m. Tuesday, and arrived in the Bahamas at 11:02 a.m., the airline said.

The airline referred to the group only as “individuals,” but WSOC-TV in Charlotte reported that they were students from a Boston-area high school, and they had to spend the night in the airport because they were too young to use the hotel vouchers provided by the airline.

The TV station reported that passengers in Charlotte heading for the Bahamas had been forced to switch planes earlier Monday due to a mechanical issue. On the second plane, the group began acting up. “It was bad. First, they were yelling. They were cursing. They were being very obnoxious,” passenger Malik Banks, who was seated next to the group, told the station.

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Mask requirements have contributed to an increase in confrontations on planes, the Globe reported last month.


Martin Finucane can be reached at martin.finucane@globe.com.