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Walk of Shame: Southwest Flyer Returns Airplane to Gate over Face Covering

Walk of Shame: Southwest Flyer Returns Airplane to Gate over Face Covering
Joe Cortez

A Southwest Airlines flight from Nashville didn’t leave the ground before turning back to the gate, all because one flyer refused to wear a face covering while aboard the flight. The unidentified flyer – only known from a photo posted to Facebook – was escorted off by police, and given a refund by the airline.

Every U.S.-based airline has a clear policy on face coverings: wear one from entering your departure airport to leaving your arrival airport, or feel the consequences. The policy is indiscriminate, even requiring travelers as young as two-years-old to maintain a face mask.

What happens when a flyer claims they will not comply? The Tennessean reports an entire flight was forced to return to the gate when one of the passengers refused to comply with the face mask requirements.

Southwest Flight Returned to Gate, Passengers Forced to Deplane

Southwest Airlines Flight 2388 was scheduled to be a regular flight from Nashville International Airport (BNA) to Las Vegas McCarren International Airport (LAS) on Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020. Passengers boarded the flight without incident, and the pilots were given clearance to push from the gate and begin taxiing for departure.

However, the flight was disrupted by a female flyer, who refused to wear a face mask after the aircraft began moving. According to a statement from a Southwest spokesperson given to The Tennessean, the pilots made the decision to return “after a customer refused to follow our face covering policy.”

According to the airport, police were ultimately called to the gate after the flyer refused to leave the aircraft. As a result, all other flyers were deplaned, so officers could ultimately intervene and escort the passenger from the aircraft.

A photo posted to Facebook captured the chaotic scene, and was published online by the newspaper. The poster noted that there were verbal back-and-forth confrontation between the offending flyer and other passengers.

“Passengers thanked her for ruining their day (missed connections due to the delay) and screamed back, ‘I’m allowed! I’m allowed!’” Facebook user Kevin Ross wrote in the photo caption. “To which at least half of the passengers in unison yelled back ‘No you are not!'”

Ultimately, the passenger was given a refund, and presumably placed on the airline’s ban list for not wearing a face covering. The airport said the woman was not arrested as a result of the incident.

Face Mask Ban List Grows As COVID-19 Pandemic Continues

Although most flyers are gladly agreeing with the measure of wearing a face covering in a tight space, there are still a minority who test the rules and refuse to wear one aboard aircraft. As a result, United Airlines created a rule that face coverings must be replaced immediately after eating or drinking. Across all airlines, over 700 flyers are on temporary ban lists for not wearing coverings.

View Comments (15)


  1. FlyingNone

    November 5, 2020 at 9:15 pm

    Can’t believe how childish some passengers are.

  2. sfcharles1

    November 6, 2020 at 4:10 am

    Lets see… Trump supporter?

  3. Long Zhiren

    November 6, 2020 at 4:41 am

    I’ve seen this incident replayed over and over about 1 in every 10 or 15 flights I’ve been on since July. All domestic US. Another variation is the passenger that misses the memo that many flights are so full again that no more social distancing is happening.

  4. mikeschumann

    November 6, 2020 at 4:51 am

    Why was this woman not arrested? Is it no longer a crime to interfere with a flight crew or refuse to deplane an airplane when requested by the police?

  5. Toukolou

    November 6, 2020 at 5:11 am

    Lol, full refund?! What kind of deterrant is that? She should have been charged for being a public nuisance. There are clear rules involved with flying. You don’t like them, don’t fly.

  6. BOB W

    BOB W

    November 6, 2020 at 8:06 am

    Are the airlines sharing these lists amongst themselves? I hope they are so these people do not try to pull this stuff again on the other airlines.

  7. LeeMKE

    November 6, 2020 at 8:46 am

    I return to the US for the first time in 9 months, enjoying quarantine in a country that takes the pandemic seriously. This is my worst nightmare, ending up in a plane with some nut refusing to behave. Thank you Southwest for taking this seriously!

  8. Iflymci

    November 6, 2020 at 9:45 am

    At first I didn’t support removing everyone else except the offender. But now i get it. It turns all passengers on the jerk who won’t get off the plane. In this case, a woman refusing to put her mask on. Now, refunding her money and her not being arrested is no nearly enough punishment. I hope she is on a national “no fly” list. Hope she has a reliable car.

  9. Pi7473000

    November 6, 2020 at 12:10 pm

    Glad they returned to the gate!!! With a Biden win we need to see a national mask mandate in all areas with people to people contact with mandated fines if violated!!

  10. IBJoel

    November 6, 2020 at 1:17 pm


  11. OZFLYER86

    November 6, 2020 at 4:14 pm

    no masks whatsoever needed to fly within Australia.

    Anyone who thinks masks save anyone is kidding themselves.

  12. GoProf

    November 6, 2020 at 4:46 pm

    Given the inconvenience and probable monetary cost of the other passengers that he caused he should not have gotten his money back.

  13. psychopharmacist

    November 6, 2020 at 7:44 pm

    Every person infected was infected by someone else. This is an indisputable fact. Wear the damn mask- you do NOT have a right to make another human being ill…or die.

  14. MRM

    November 10, 2020 at 5:26 am

    So what does it take to be arrested on an airplane nowadays? If I were a passenger with some time and money, I’d be sure to have some legal fun with this mask-less moron and make her a “highly recognizable face” in her hometown…People like her are the kind you wait to read the news about when she finally spouts off to the wrong person at the wrong time in the wrong place…

  15. Irpworks

    November 23, 2020 at 9:45 pm

    No “walk of shame” but rather one of the few to not cower from the senseless pressure of the compliant mob.

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