Photo by Philip Pilosian

American Airlines released a statement defending the flight pilot who said he would “dump” passengers in Kansas if they did not “behave.”

The American Airlines flight was leaving Washington D.C. and heading to Phoenix, Arizona, on Jan. 8.

Two videos were posted on Twitter by Trump supporters this past weekend. Many of the passengers who were shouting “USA” appeared to be wearing MAGA hats. 

Mindy Robinson, a conservative activist from Nevada, uploaded the first video on Twitter showing the passengers chanting.

Amanda Head, the founder of The Hollywood Conservative, posted the second video on Twitter, including the pilot’s announcement, saying he will “dump” the passengers in Kansas if they did not behave. Head posted a Tweet regarding the pilot’s statement being a response to passengers chanting “USA” and “Fight for Trump.”

“This is the way it’s gonna be. Um, it’s a four-and-a-half-hour flight out to Phoenix. We’ll put this plane down in the middle of Kansas and dump people off — I don’t care,” the pilot said to the passengers. 

“That’s… We will do that if that’s what it takes. So behave, please.”

American Airlines responded that some of the passengers were refusing to wear masks on the flight, which triggered the chanting. 

As of 2020, American Airlines implemented strict travel requirements while traveling. 

“A face covering is required while flying on American, except for children under two years old,” the travel guidelines say. “If you decline to wear one, you may be denied boarding and future travel on American.” 

The National President of the Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA), Julie Hedrick, released a statement in response to the violence in Washington D.C. regarding the flight crew’s safety.

“This week, we witnessed an outbreak of violence at the U.S. Capitol, forcing an evacuation while lawmakers were attempting to certify the electoral college vote count,” Hedrick said in the statement. 

“We also experienced multiple incidents on various flights headed to Washington, D.C. During these incidents, some of which broadcasted over social media, Flight Attendants were forced to confront passengers exhibiting politically motivated aggression towards other passengers and crew.”

“APFA has begun work in tandem with other Flight Attendant Unions, lawmakers, and regulatory agencies in Washington, D.C. to enhance safety and make sure that anyone displaying threatening or abusive behavior will not be allowed to board our aircraft now or in the future,” Hedrick concluded. 

“This is not who we are as Americans. The abuse, divisiveness, anger, and harassment must stop.”

In response to the recent events, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) tweeted on Jan. 9 pointing out that “Federal law prohibits you from physically assaulting or threatening to physically assault the crew, and anyone else, on an aircraft. You could be subject to fines of up to $35K and imprisonment for such conduct.”

Written ByLauren Akabori

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