FAA will look into American Airlines flight delayed by mask mandate noncompliance
(CNN) — Federal officials say they will look into a group of 30 "disruptive" high schoolers who American Airlines removed from a Bahamas-bound flight on Monday.
American Airlines said the teens were kicked off flight 893 from Charlotte to Nassau after they were told to wear federally mandated masks, caused a scene, and did not follow the instructions of the crew. A source familiar with the incident said the group was chaperoned by only one adult who was no more than 22 years old.
"The FAA is aware of the incident and investigates all reports it receives from airlines," said a statement from the agency, which has received a total of more than 3,200 reports of unruly passengers this year, with three-quarters of issues over the transportation-wide mask mandate.
"They were being very obnoxious," passenger Malik Banks told CNN affiliate WSOC. "I would say 75% to 80% of them were being terrible kids, saying smart stuff."
The trip organizer acknowledged on Wednesday that passengers must follow the airline and federal rules, but claimed only one student out of 47 was behaving badly. American Airlines said 30 of the students were involved in the incident.
Eugene Winer of trip organizer, Breakaway Beach, told CNN that "any passenger not abiding by aviation rules and regulations must be removed from an aircraft," but said the company was disappointed because it felt the students were collectively labeled as unruly.
"(T)he act of one individual is not the responsibility of others, and the students that were abiding by the rules should not have had to endure this type of treatment," Winer said. "The group was treated in an improper and overly harsh manner, causing unnecessary stress and aggravation to the travelers and their parents from afar."
Winer said the passengers of flight 893 bound for the Bahamas sat on the aircraft in Charlotte for about two hours awaiting resolution of a mechanical issue with the flight, and "during this time some passengers including the students may have removed masks due to no air-conditioning/ventilation, quite unbearable conditions."
American Airlines provided customers hotel vouchers and was rescheduled flight 893 to depart Tuesday morning, ultimately leaving with the teens on board. Breakaway said it handled the costs of lodging, food, and transportation for the high schoolers back to the airport on Tuesday.
This article originally appeared on CNN