A woman captured the footage on the airplane that was bound for Provo, Utah. The man, 52-year-old Rio Honaker, was subsequently escorted off the plane at the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport after he got into a physical altercation with another man who asked him to follow the airline’s rules and wear a face covering, NBC News reports.
The female passenger who recorded the incident, Rylie Lansford ,said the fight started when Honaker—who was seated behind her—began arguing with the flight attendant after she asked that he wear a mask, in addition to the face shield he had. Another man sitting in Lansord’s row then got involved and yelled at Honaker to wear a mask, and lobbed obscenities and other threats at him too. Police told the Huffington Post that Honaker told the man to mind his own business.
A gateway supervisor boarded the plane and attempted to remove Honaker. However, he instead elbowed the man in front of him, blaming him as the reason he had to disembark. In Lansford’s video, the second man is seen choking, hitting, and pulling Honaker’s hair. The fight only lasted about 30 seconds, with an off-duty police officer coming in between the men and escorting Honaker off the plane. The second man was permitted to stay.
An Allegiant Airlines spokesperson told NBC on Monday that airline guidelines require passengers to wear masks at all times, including the ticket counter, gate area, and during the flight.
“Face shields may be worn in addition to a face covering, but not as an alternative,” company police states.
Honaker is facing one count of disorderly conduct for the incident.