New Jersey gym owner banned from American Airlines flights after refusing to wear a mask on flight


A gym owner in New Jersey has been banned from flying on American Airlines after refusing to wear a face covering on one of their flights.

Ian Smith, 33, previously defied lockdown by opening Atilis Gym back up to the public in May last year.

Now, he has been banned from all American Airlines flights until face coverings are ‘no longer required’ after he refused to wear one on his trip back from the Conservative Political Action Conference on Friday.

The co-gym owner posted an email he received from American Airlines on his Instagram account, informing him he would not be allowed to fly with them again for the foreseeable future. 

Gym owner Ian Smith, 33, (pictured soeaking to supporters outside his gym on May 19, 2020) from New Jersey has been banned from flying on American Airlines after refusing to wear a face covering on one of their flights.

The co-gym owner posted an email (pictured) he received from American Airlines on his Instagram account, informing him he would not be allowed to fly with them again for the foreseeable future

The co-gym owner posted an email (pictured) he received from American Airlines on his Instagram account, informing him he would not be allowed to fly with them again for the foreseeable future

In the email, American Airlines said: ‘Due to a recent incident regarding our policy on face mask coverings on American Airlines flight 1617 on February 26, 2021 between MCO-PHL, future travel on all American Airlines flights, including all code-share flights, will be denied and future reservations will not be honored, effective March 1, 2021. 

‘Your ability to travel on American will be restored once face coverings are no longer required and our policy has been rescinded.’

The flight ban was put in place after Smith uploaded a video of himself, before, during and after his American Airlines flight in which he shows himself not wearing a face covering. 

Commenting alongside the screenshot of the email, Ian said: ‘This does not bother me. I will happily take any punishment these people wish to hand me. I will happily find a work-around.’

An American Airlines spokesman confirmed that Smith had been banned after his Feb. 26 flight from Orlando to Philly.

The flight ban was put in place after Smith uploaded a video of himself (pictured), before, during and after his American Airlines flight in which he shows himself not wearing a face covering

The flight ban was put in place after Smith uploaded a video of himself (pictured), before, during and after his American Airlines flight in which he shows himself not wearing a face covering

American Airlines rep Andrew Trull told the New York Post: ‘Mr. Smith was added to American’s Face Covering Refuse List for failure to comply with repeated crew member requests to wear a face covering.

‘As a result, Mr. Smith will not be permitted to travel on American while our face covering policy is in place.’

There are currently 35 US states whose governments have enforced rules stating face coverings must be worn when in public – including Pennsylvania, where Smith had been flying to. 

Under Travel updates on the American Airlines website, it is stated that US federal law requires all plane passengers must wear a face covering from the time you enter the airport you are flying from, until you leave the airport you have flown to. 

American Airlines state on their website that any passengers who refuse to wear a mask ‘may be denied boarding and future travel on American’. 

Commenting alongside the screenshot of the email, Ian said: 'This does not bother me. I will happily take any punishment these people wish to hand me. I will happily find a work-around.' Pictured: Atlis Gym co-owners Ian Smith (left) and Frank Trumbetti stand outside their gym on May 19, 2020

Commenting alongside the screenshot of the email, Ian said: ‘This does not bother me. I will happily take any punishment these people wish to hand me. I will happily find a work-around.’ Pictured: Atlis Gym co-owners Ian Smith (left) and Frank Trumbetti stand outside their gym on May 19, 2020

Last summer, Smith lost his licence to operate his gym after repeatedly reopening the business to the public and faces more than $1million in fines.

The reopening defied Governor Phil Murphy’s order for non-essential businesses to stay shuttered to slow the spread of coronavirus.

Speaking to Fox News in December last year, Smith said: ‘We have no plans on paying those fines’. 

His gym continues to operate every day and the business has not enforced face coverings or social distancing rules. 

However, the gym’s Facebook page says that some measures have been introduced, such as  limiting the capacity to 20 percent and allowing only members inside.

Gym-goers’ temperatures were also being taken on entry, and anybody with a temperature above 100.4 degrees would be turned away.



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