Allegiant passenger removed over flight attendant's mask demands apology from airline
DOVER, N. H. - A New Hampshire man who took off from an Allegiant Air flight to Portsmouth International Airport in Pease has asked the airline to remedy the situation in a letter released by his lawyers.
This week, John Peterman and his wife are returning to Florida, where they were from at the time of the incident. They drive because they are not comfortable flying.
"John is 72 years old and belongs to the high risk category for COVID-19," his lawyer Lawrence Vogelman of Shaheen & Gordon, P.A., told Seacoast Media Group, part of the USA TODAY Network. “He's out of Pease because he thinks it's safer. He wouldn't leave Logan in Boston because it's too big and crowded. "
Peterman said he did not want to cause any disturbance when he boarded Allegiant Flight 1682 from Punta Gorda, Florida for Portsmouth on Sept. 7. He just wanted to feel safe.
"We are taking Mr Peterman's case pro bono," Vogelman said. "The reason we got in touch was because Allegiant immediately made a statement that was not factually true."
Peterman states that he was denied a request to speak to the captain of the plane to lodge his complaint that a flight attendant was not wearing a mask properly. Instead, he was forcibly escorted off the flight by an Allegiant Air employee before the plane took off.
Dover's John Peterman said he was only trying to stay safe when he asked an Allegiant flight attendant to put her mask back on because of the coronavirus risk.
To prevent the spread of COVID-19 in public transport, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention strongly recommend that all passengers and staff wear appropriate masks. The CDC also said masks should cover the mouth and nose.
In a letter to Maurice Gallagher, CEO and Board Member of Allegiant Travel Company, Vogelman said he was looking for an "answer and fair solution on behalf of his customer and the safety of all future passengers."
"I understand that your employees made up a story to cover up their outrageous behavior," Vogelman explained in his letter. “As the CEO, however, you should be told what really happened. John Peterman is a 72-year-old man who has to be very careful with the COVID virus for medical reasons. From his seat 3A, he noticed that one of the flight attendants had her face mask under her nose. Mr. Peterman drew the attention of the flight attendant, who then came down the aisle to Mr. Peterman. He politely asked her to cover her nose with her mask. She didn't answer, but went back to the refreshment area. "
Vogelman said they wanted an apology for Peterman and confirmation that he was telling the truth. He wasn't specific about a possible settlement or compensation.
"He's also concerned that he won't end up on a crazy no-fly list for Allegiant," Vogelman said.
“The flight attendant did not adjust her mask, but was involved in a conversation with another flight attendant. A few minutes later, Mr. Peterman was approached by an Allegiant employee who told him he had to get off the plane. This employee said they were "captain's orders". The captain never spoke to Mr. Peterman and never asked him what had happened. When Mr Peterman protested his removal, another Allegiant employee began physically removing him from the aircraft. Mr. Peterman called for the captain. Again, the captain never spoke to Mr. Peterman. "
Vogelman said Peterman was told to go to the ticket booth and book another flight. With no flight to Portsmouth anytime soon, Peterman had to take a flight to Newburgh, New York, where a friend from New Hampshire drove 10 hours there and back to take him home.
"To cover up their wrongdoing, Allegiant employees made up a story and made it available to the press," he said. “They alleged that Mr. Peterman repeatedly interrupted the flight attendant while she was giving her announcement to passengers. That never happened. "
"One passenger became a nuisance during the pre-flight safety briefing," Allegiant spokeswoman Hilarie Gray told USA TODAY. "After the announcement, the passenger insisted on making threatening statements up to the point of harassment to the flight attendant."
Gray, reached by email on Wednesday, thanked Seacoast Media Group for contacting Allegiant for the story, but said the company had no further comment.
In a post-incident video that the U.S. received TODAY, an airline agent tells the man to get off the plane or law enforcement is called. Some other passengers may hear things like "Oh come on" and "This is ridiculous" grumbling.
The passenger asked to be taken on his case with the captain when he was led off the plane and said, "I just asked someone to put on their face mask. That's all I did."
Immediately after the incident, Gray said after the man continued his "disruptive behavior" and that "the decision was made to disembark," noted that disturbing a crew member constituted an FAA violation. "He was resumed on a later flight."
As per Allegiant's Mask Policy, all passengers must wear face covers, with the exception of children under 2 years of age or those who can present documentation of a medical problem at least one hour prior to departure.
More: Allegiant passenger removed after dispute over flight attendant's face mask
This article originally appeared on Foster's Daily Democrat: Allegiant Air Flyer removed from above flight attendant's mask apologizes
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