An American Airlines flight headed to London on Wednesday night had to turn around and go back to Miami after two passengers refused to wear masks.
American Airlines said there were 129 passengers on board Flight 38, including a couple who would not don face coverings. The plane started its return to Miami International Airport about 90 minutes into the flight, WFOR-TV reports, and police officers were waiting when the plane landed. It's believed the man and woman were intoxicated, WFOR says. There were no arrests, as law enforcement said mask mandate violations are not arrestable offenses, but the woman is now on American's internal no-fly list amid an investigation.
One passenger told WFOR that the pilots "wouldn't really say anything, and I don't believe they told the flight attendants anything either because they said all they could say was there was an extreme incident with a passenger and they had to turn around." The flight was canceled, and most of the passengers had to spend the night in Miami before flying out on Thursday morning. American Airlines said in a statement that it thanked "our crew for their professionalism and apologize to our customers for the inconvenience."
Earlier this month, the Federal Aviation Administration said there has been a "disturbing increase in incidents where airline passengers have disrupted flights with threatening or violent behavior." There have already been 151 reports of unruly passengers in 2022, with 92 incidents related to masks, CBS News reports.