Man says he was kicked off Southwest flight for failing to put his mask on — between bites of food


One minute Avi Mandel was minding his own business on a Southwest Airlines plane before takeoff this weekend and eating a box of Twizzlers — and the next minute, he was kicked off the Florida-bound flight.

What are the details?

Mandel told WBZ-TV that he had been a frequent Southwest customer — that is until his Sunday flight from Thurgood Marshall Baltimore Washington International Airport to Fort Lauderdale.

While waiting for the flight to take off, Mandel told the station he got hungry and opened a pack of Twizzlers — and naturally when one eats, a mask makes that kind of awkward. So he removed his mask.

Then a flight attendant told Mandel he had to put his mask on, WBZ said, and he recalled that she “kind of, like, ran away. And I’m like, ‘Oh, I guess she didn’t know I was eating.’ Then I hear on the loudspeaker, ‘Everyone who’s eating has to wear mask in between bites.'”

Suddenly, the plane returned to the gate, and a security team entered the plane to escort Mandel off, he told the station.

Image source: WBZ-TV video screenshot

There was no drama. Mandel told WBZ he remained calm and respectful despite feeling embarrassed — but other passengers stuck up for him.

He showed the station video of passenger Stephanie Misiaszek telling the security team, “That is so wrong. He did nothing wrong. Wow.”

The team was also told, “He was eating. Oh my God.”

After departing the plane, Mandel appeared on a video clip saying, “I, Avi Mandel, just got kicked off a plane because I wasn’t wearing my mask in between my bites while I was eating.”

Image source: WBZ-TV video screenshot

Mandel told WBZ he was rebooked on the next flight to Florida Monday morning but won’t fly Southwest again any time soon.

“It was absurd,” he told the station. “The way I was treated was absolutely absurd. It was crazy, and it wasn’t fair.”

Mandel added to WBZ that “there was no warning of