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Saturday, January 28, 2023

‘Unruly’ passengers arrested at Nashville airport after reportedly refusing to wear masks

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NASHVILLE — Two persons were arrested and charged with disorderly conduct at Nashville International Airport after allegedly refusing to wear masks on flights.

According to an arrest affidavit, one passenger disrupted a Spirit Airlines flight Monday by refusing to wear a mask and calling the flight crew “vulgar names.” They were denied additional flights on the airline and were forced to spend the night at the airport while waiting for an American Airlines aircraft. The person again refused to wear a mask at a checkpoint Tuesday and on board the aircraft and was arrested, the affidavit stated.

Another person apparently became “unruly” when requested to wear a mask on a Southwest Airlines trip on Tuesday, according to records, requiring the plane to return to the gate. According to an affidavit, the subject smelled of alcohol, was swearing loudly, and was originally confrontational toward officers before being arrested.

“The safety and security of passengers, staff, and guests is Nashville International Airport’s top priority,” airport spokesman Kym Gerlock said in an email. “The airport’s Department of Public Safety is committed to carrying out that mission and is fully educated and prepared to do so, working with our airline partners and adhering to the federal mask mandate.”

The Transportation Security Administration announced on Tuesday that it will extend the current travel mask mandate for airplanes, trains, buses, airports, and train stations until January 18. The extension is part of an effort to “minimize the transmission of COVID-19 on public transit,” according to the agency.

Both passengers face a disorderly behavior charge and have separate court appearances set for Sept. 3.

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