The easyJet flight to London Gatwick, with 170 other passengers onboard, was delayed as cabin crew, the pilot and then officers from the States police spoke to the man about his behaviour.
One of the other passengers said the man had persistently refused to don a mask in line with easyJet’s policy, which mirrors the standard set by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency.
‘He was being obstinate and aggressive and kept talking about his rights under UK law, even though he wasn’t in the UK,’ the fellow passenger said. ‘The cabin crew didn’t have any luck in changing his mind, but eventually he agreed having been spoken to by the captain – he said he was emailing the airline to say he was acting “under duress”.
‘Other passengers were getting really fed up with what was happening, and cabin crew were trying to calm people down in order to prevent things escalating.’
Police officers had already been called and boarded the plane to speak further to the man to ensure his compliance.
Having been ready to take off slightly ahead of the scheduled 7pm departure on Monday night, the flight eventually left at 7.43pm.
A spokesperson for easyJet said: ‘Police attended flight EZY896 due to a passenger behaving disruptively on departure and refusing to wear their face mask. The passenger agreed to wear their mask onboard in line with safety requirements and so was permitted to travel.
‘In line with EASA guidelines, all passengers are required to wear a face mask during boarding and onboard and we are informing all customers of this requirement ahead of travel.’
Jersey Airport said that the passenger concerned had worn a mask earlier while moving through the departures area.
‘The safety and wellbeing of our staff, business partners and airport/harbour users remains our top priority,’ said a spokesman.
‘We continue to follow government guidelines relating to coronavirus. Masks or face shields must be worn at all times unless passengers have medical exemptions.
‘Transport providers also require face coverings to be worn onboard, and failure to do so could result in a passenger being refused travel.’
The JEP has asked easyJet whether any follow-up action will be taken regarding the incident, and whether a passenger might be banned from travelling in the future as a result of such an incident.