WINTHROP, MASS. (WHDH) - Some recent graduates from Winthrop High School are being blamed for a delay on a flight bound for the Bahamas after the airline says a group of people refused to wear masks.
What was supposed to be an end-of-the-year getaway for newly graduated seniors, quickly turned into a major stall at Charlotte Airport Monday.
In a statement, American Airlines wrote that passengers traveling from Charlotte to Nassau, Bahamas were noncompliant with the federal mask mandate and, “became disruptive to other customers and refused to follow crew member instructions while onboard. Per procedure, the customers involved were asked to exit the aircraft.”
Jean Holgerson’s son is one of more than 40 teenagers who were onboard the flight and says the airline is blaming those teenagers for the delay. Though American Airlines never directly identified the teens as the offending party.
“It wasn’t this big standoff like everyone is portraying,” she said. “A representative from Breakaway Beach was there. We have 46 children that are saying this differently. I have no idea why some would fabricate that.”
She said flight attendants initially asked one of the teens to get off the flight for not complying with the mask mandate.
“As soon as they walked away, some woman walked to the bathroom without a mask.” Holgerson said. “So now, the kids got a little bit upset how she can … and this that so at that point they might’ve gotten a little rowdy. No one swore, they were still respectful.”
Holgerson says passengers then sat on the plane for more than two hours before being asked to get off due to a maintenance issue. When it came time to reboard another aircraft, she said the airline refused to let the teens board due to their behavior and refusal to wear masks.
“Now we are hearing that they are not allowed to be on the plane, they are stuck at the airport, their airline is not giving them accommodation,” the mother said.
The trip was not sanctioned by the school. Parents of those teenagers booked it through a private company, Breakaway Beach.
The chaperoning company helped take care of teens until they reboarded the flight Tuesday morning, according to Holgerson.
The president of Breakaway Beach said he is disappointed with how the airline handled the incident and that the actions of one should not have impacted the trajectory of the trip for all.
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