Man told by flight attendant his mask was noncompliant, police would be waiting for him

PITTSBURGH — A Pittsburgh man was involved in a heated exchange with a flight attendant while traveling with Spirit Airlines, and it was recorded on a cellphone video.

It was on a flight from Myrtle Beach to Pittsburgh International when Mike DeSimone said he was targeted by a flight attendant about the type of face covering he was wearing. He was threatened that the police would be waiting at the gate when the plane landed.

You can customize your WPXI News App to receive news alerts. CLICK HERE to find out how.

“We’re like two-thirds of the way through this flight. I thought I was abiding by the rules. I had my face covered the entire time,” he said.

He said the flight attendant told him his neck gaiter was not approved by the airline.

“My guy was like my mask wasn’t good enough and I said ‘Show me the rules’ and he said he didn’t have to,” DeSimone said. “There are other people around me that didn’t even have their nose covered. An older lady, her mask was hanging around her jaw. Another guy ordered a cocktail. I just thought it was very unprofessional they way they treated me.

A spokesperson for Spirit Airlines said the mask policy follows CDC guidelines. That includes travelers wearing a mask with two or more layers. The agency does not recommend the use of gaiters or face shields because their effectiveness is not known.

The spokesperson addressed the video DeSimone took of the incident on social media.

DeSimone said that’s not what happened.

"That was never asked of me. Honestly, if they politely asked me, ‘Hey your material is too thin, can you fold it over twice?’ I would have had no problem with that,” he said.

DeSimone said he’s worn the neck gaiter on at least 20 flights for his job without a problem.