The Los Angeles Airport Peace Officers Association (LAAPOA) is deeply disappointed in Denver-based and U.S.-owned Frontier Airlines’ divisive and politically charged handling of the August 23 incident at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. In recent years, there has been a growing sentiment of anti-Americanism among many, and this incident only highlights the growing trend as it pertains to our First Amendment rights.
When boarding a Frontier Airlines flight, an undercover federal air marshal (FAM) was told to remove his American flag face mask to avoid offending other passengers or he would risk not being allowed on the flight. While attempting to board the plane, the FAM was stopped by the Frontier Airlines gate agent and was handed a disposable mask, which he politely put on and then covered with his American flag mask. The gate agent then told him that his mask would create issues with the other passengers, and he would not be allowed to board unless he removed it. This, however, was after several passengers wearing Black Lives Matter masks were allowed to board before him. Ultimately, in order to maintain his team’s undercover status and the security of the plane and its passengers, the FAM agreed to the gate agent’s request, but the point had already been made.
This marshal and all federal air marshals risk their lives to protect our nation’s skies and people. LAAPOA finds it indefensible that wearing an American flag face mask would be deemed controversial, as it is a pure display of patriotism. It is saddening that this Frontier Airlines gate agent deemed the American flag so offensive that they felt it necessary to infringe on this marshal’s, or anyone’s, First Amendment rights. By allowing actions like this to occur without repercussion, Frontier Airlines is promoting an anti-American sentiment, and in times like these, we should worry less about what separates us and more about what can make this nation stronger.
“The company is literally called Frontier Airlines, after an American symbol of pride in our nation,” LAAPOA President Marshall McClain says. “I assume it is based off the French! In all seriousness, when did getting on an American-based plane, on American soil, going to an American destination, wearing an article of clothing depicting the great American flag, become an offensive act? Why should anyone in our great nation be shamed for demonstrating pride for our country? Will Frontier not allow men and women in uniform to fly? Should we remove USO lounges at airports? America will never be perfect, but it is the greatest experiment of government that has ever existed. We should never be ashamed of what the flag stands for, nor should we ever shame someone — particularly someone serving our country — for standing for our great nation’s ideals.”