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Man in viral plane fight video tells his side of the story

Oct 6, 2020, 7:01 AM

SALT LAKE CITY – A Utah man whose mask wearing was at the center of a fight on a plane spoke to KSL about his side of the story. Pleasant Grove resident Rio Honacker says wearing a mask over his nose gives him anxiety. 

That’s why he says he wears a face shield and did so before boarding the plane to Provo from the Phoenix-Mesa Airport, where he had flown to watch his son’s football game. 

“I went through the terminal [with a face shield over my mask]…I went through the ticketing. This is the way I went into the plane,” Honacker told KSL-TV. 

Honaker also told KSL-TV that he got a notification from Allegiant saying he needed to wear a face-covering over his mouth and nose at all times, though he didn’t think that meant he needed to wear a face mask specifically. 

Flight attendants tried to escort Honacker off the plane for not wearing the mask over his nose.

He says while he was arguing his case, a man sitting in front of him became angry and started making comments, leading to the fight.

“Some people have asked me, did you throw the first blow? No, I didn’t throw the first blow. The first blow came when that man turned around and started being belligerent to me,” Honaker said. 

However, Honacker was the only one taken off the plane, as well as cited for disorderly conduct. 

He says he would also like an apology from Allegiant for how he feels he was treated. 

In a statement to KSL-TV, Allegiant Airlines responded, “[Our policy] states that a face shield can be worn in tandem with a face covering, but not as an alternative. Our passengers agree to these policies at the time they book their flights. There are multiple points where passengers are reminded of our face mask policy.”

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