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Fight breaks out on plane after passenger refuses to wear face mask

“It was absolutely insane to me because it’s all about a mask, and it didn’t need to get that way,” a nearby passenger said.
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A woman says a fight broke out onboard an Allegiant Air flight to Provo, Utah after a passenger refused to wear a face mask as required by the airline.

Rylie Lansford captured the ensuing argument between the two men on camera while waiting for the flight's departure Saturday at Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport, Salt Lake City NBC affiliate KSL reported. Lansford was seated near the passengers, but when someone threw the first punch, she said she immediately retreated and started recording the incident.

“It was absolutely insane to me because it’s all about a mask,” Lansford told KSL. “It didn’t need to get that way.”

The fight started when a passenger who wore a face shield sitting behind Lansford got into an argument with a flight attendant over wearing a face mask, KSL reported.

A spokesperson for Allegiant Airlines did not respond to questions regarding the incident, but told NBC News on Monday that the airline requires all passengers to wear face covering at all times, including at the ticket counter, gate area and for the duration of the flight.

“Face shields may be worn in addition to a face covering, but not as an alternative,” according to company policy.

The video shows another man, clad in a mask that doesn't cover his nose, throwing jabs at the passenger who refused to wear a mask while being held back by flight staff.

The fight was broken up after 30 seconds, Lansford told KSL. The passenger without a face mask was escorted off the plane by flight attendants, while the other man was allowed to stay.

Lansford did not immediately respond to NBC News' request for comment.

In early March, when masks were not required by airports, a single passenger was responsible for infecting 15 other people aboard a flight from London to Hanoi, Vietnam, according to a study in the Emerging Infectious Diseases journal, which is published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In its travel guidance, the CDC recommends wearing a mask that covers your nose and mouth and maintaining at least six feet apart from others.

“If you’re buying a plane ticket, you must follow the rules or you gotta drive somewhere,” Lansford said.