The FAA is investigating the Bahamas-bound American Airlines flight delayed on Monday by rowdy teens who refused wear masks — as the Boston-area group’s program provider claimed most of the kids did nothing wrong.
The recent high school grads from Winthrop, Massachusetts, made “smart mouth” comments to flight attendants when asked to mask-up, according to witnesses — but program organizer Breakaway Beach claims the airline falsely blamed the entire group for a single student’s refusal to mask-up.
“The group was treated in an improper and overly harsh manner, causing unnecessary stress and aggravation to the travelers and their parents from afar,” Winer said in a statement to CNN on Wednesday.
“The act of one individual is not the responsibility of others, and the students that were abiding by the rules should not have had to endure this type of treatment.”
In a statement, American Airlines said passengers aboard the July 5 flight “were reported to be noncompliant with the federal mask mandate, became disruptive to other customers and refused to follow crew member instructions while onboard.”
A maintenance issue initially delayed the 9:31 a.m. flight for two hours and passengers were asked to switch planes, the airline said. The teens were denied entry onto the second plane, forcing another three hour delay so their luggage could be removed.
Airline officials ultimately decided to delay the flight to Tuesday, and the group of 43 students and one chaperone were permitted to fly after agreeing to comply with mask rules and flight crew instructions.
The post-graduation Bahamas trip was privately organized by students and their parents, according to WHDH 7News. The group’s only adult chaperone was no older than 22, CNN said.
Jean Holgerson, who son was among the group of 47 recent graduates of Winthrop High School, told WHDH the teens became “upset” after their peer had been kicked off the flight because they saw a woman walk to the bathroom without a mask.
“As soon as they walked away, some woman walked to the bathroom without a mask.” Holgerson said. “So now, the kids got a little bit upset how she can … and this that so at that point they might’ve gotten a little rowdy. No one swore, they were still respectful.”
“It wasn’t this big standoff like everyone is portraying. A representative from Breakaway Beach was there,” the exhausted mom noted. “We have 46 children that are saying this differently. I have no idea why…