(CNN) – Tension over wearing face masks drove a passenger from an American Airlines flight on Wednesday as airlines imposed stricter safety measures.
The airline confirmed in a statement that the passenger, Brandon Straca, was requested to disembark from a flight from New York to Dallas after he refused to wear a face mask, as required by American Airlines policy.
This is the first known accident of this kind since airlines announced plans to enforce the mask to be tougher.
American Airlines confirmed the accident aboard Flight 1263 from LaGuardia in New York to Dallas / Fort Worth, saying Starka had failed to wear a face cover.
“After he refused to comply with the instructions given by the flight crew, our team members asked him to disembark. He took off and the plane left the gate four minutes late at 12:34 pm ET,” the company said in a statement.
The airline Straka said it had been booked on a subsequent flight after it agreed to comply with the airline’s policies, and the American was contacting him to obtain more information about the accident. Straka said he was wearing a mask provided by the company but he took off as soon as he got on the plane and no one complained.
Straka told CNN in a telephone interview that the flight was close to departure when “one of the flight attendants came to me very forcefully and said,” Sir, you must wear your mask. “And I said,” Well, I don’t have one. ”
Straka is a conservative character who appeared on Fox News. He describes himself on his website as a former liberal who encourages people to leave the Democratic Party.
When asked about masks, Straka said he is against the mask for himself, but sees it as a personal decision. Besides shirts and other items, Straka sells masks on his website.
The flight attendant said he needed to wear a mask to be on the plane, as Straka said, and indicated it was a law.
“I was outraged by the fact that there was not even a conversation. So I said, ‘This is actually not law.'”
When CNN asked him whether he was suffering from a health condition, Straka refused to comment but said, “I find it difficult to wear a mask, and it is forbidden,” he said.
He said he had never had a problem not wearing a mask on board aircraft.
“I travel sometimes two or three times a week, and even during closure, I used to travel at least once every two weeks. I am totally used to traveling and this was never a problem. There was not a single time, even with this airline said Straka.”
While US aviation officials did not impose face coverage for air travelers, the head of the Federal Aviation Administration said in a congressional testimony Wednesday that passengers are expected to wear masks when their hosts direct them.
In his testimony, Federal Aviation Administration Director Steve Dixon said that air travelers should wear face caps “to protect them and protect those around them. Face covers are especially important in situations where social exclusion is not possible.”
Pete Montan of CNN and Gregory Wallace contributed to this report.