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Spirit Airlines reiterates mask policy, CDC standards after passenger refuses to swap gaiter

Spirit Airlines reiterates its policy for wearing only CDC-approved masks during the COVID-19 pandemic after a passenger insists on wearing a gaiter.

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Spirit Airlines reiterated its policy for wearing only masks approved by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention after video posted Friday of a guest refusing to wear anything other than his own neck gaiter, which does not meet CDC standards.

The video, recorded by the passenger in question and shared to social media last week, shows a flight attendant asking a man wearing an American flag-themed neck gaiter if he was wearing a mask underneath, given that the gaiter on its own does not comply with Spirit or the CDC mask guidelines.

“Our flight attendants asked the Guest in this video to double up his gaiter,” the airline said in a statement shared to social media Friday. “When he refused, they offered him an alternative face covering, and he refused that option too.”

Airline mask requirements: Check the policies for American, Delta, Southwest, Spirit and more US carriers

“What’s wrong with my mask?” the passenger asked, before repeatedly telling the flight attendant to “show me those rules.”

“I don’t have to wear the mask that you gave me,” he added. “I’m wearing the mask that I have. … I’ve been on 20 flights with this same exact mask.”

The flight attendant reiterated that the gaiter did not meet safety standards and said the airline would “have the authorities waiting for you when we land.”

USA TODAY has reached out to Spirit for more information.

The airline’s statement notes that Spirit’s policy adheres to CDC guidelines and requires face coverings that “snugly cover the nose and mouth, be secure under the chin and have at least two layers of fabric. The CDC cautions that gaiters may not be effective, which is why we require Guests to either double up neck gaiters so they’re dual-layered and hug the chin, or to switch to a standard ear-loop face covering.”

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Hannah Yasharoff

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