Allegiant Air Flight Company denied having racial motives when four Black teens were removed off a plane Monday night.
The incident occurred at Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport in Arizona when crew members asked the 16 and 17-year-olds to correctly wear their masks which they refused.
The basketball teammates were then escorted off the flight with their mentor accusing the crew of racial profiling.
“Following repeated refusals to comply on board the aircraft, the party was deplaned from the flight,” Hilarie Grey, the company’s spokeswoman said.
“The passengers in this party failed to sustain compliance with repeated crew member requests to wear face coverings properly (over their nose and mouth).
“Flight crew members were met with belligerent, dismissive comments. Allegiant does not discriminate.”
“A decision to deplane passengers is never made lightly but is determined in accordance with regulations, and in the interest of ensuring the safety of all passengers and crew throughout the duration of the flight.”
However, the teens insisted they had complied with the orders: “When the police came onto the plane, that was really scary and traumatizing because, with everything that’s going on in the world, I didn’t know if I could have been killed, arrested, Tased.”
“I didn’t believe what they said we did was that severe they needed four police officers to escort us off the plane.”