Utah Man In Altercation On Allegiant Flight Speaks Out
Oct 5, 2020, 7:22 PM | Updated: 8:16 pm
PROVO, Utah – A Utah man whose face covering was at the center of a fight on an Allegiant Air flight spoke to KSL TV about his side of the story.
The incident, which was caught on cell phone video, started as Rio Honaker argued with flight attendants over his face covering.
“It didn’t need to escalate to that,” said Honaker. “It did not.”
He argued that he complied with the rules, and it was not his fault that it all came to blows.
“I was not being belligerent,” said Honaker. “Was I standing up for myself? Absolutely. And I will continue to stand up.”
Honaker said he hopped on the Allegiant flight on Friday to the Phoenix-Mesa Airport to watch his son’s football game. On Saturday, he headed back to the Provo Airport.
He said wearing a mask over his nose gives him anxiety and so when he boarded the plane, he was wearing a face shield and a face mask over his mouth only.
Honaker said before he bought his ticket, he got a message from Allegiant. It said he needed to wear a face covering over his mouth and nose at all times. Honaker didn’t think that specifically meant he needed to wear a face mask.
“I thought that banner was what they required and that’s what I tried to comply with,” said Honaker.
While he was disagreeing with flight attendants, Honaker said another passenger sitting in front of him started making comments that became more and more hostile.
When Honaker stood up to be escorted off the plane, a fight broke out.
“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,” said Honaker.
Honaker was removed from the plane and cited for disorderly conduct. The other passenger was allowed to remain onboard.
Honaker said he wants an apology from the airline. He claimed he was targeted and harassed by flight attendants.
In a statement, Allegiant Airlines said:
“(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. The pop-up on the app is one reminder of several.”