Man on plane to Nashville reportedly joking about having coronavirus leads to 8-hour delay

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — An American Airlines flight from Dallas to Nashville took over eight hours to take off and was delayed three times after a man reportedly joked about having coronavirus.

Flight #1076 to Nashville was set to depart around 6:30 p.m. and arrive at 8:40 p.m. Saturday but did not finally arrive at BNA until 4:40 a.m. Sunday. The man, who has not been identified, reportedly wouldn’t lift his tray table up before the plane took off at which point he claimed he had coronavirus.

“People were freaked out because nobody knew what was going on,” said passenger Brandon Kenney, “People didn’t know if he was actually sick or if he really didn’t have coronavirus or not.”

The situation understandably was taken very seriously. HAZMAT crews and police officers boarded the plane and had the man removed.

Video Courtesy: Jason Halbert

Passengers were reportedly panicked after seeing HAZMAT on the plane. Police told a passenger we spoke with that the man ‘wasn’t all there.’

“Right after he was escorted off the plane, one of the cops came back and kind of explained the situation to the people that were sitting near him and kind of spelled it out for us and told us not to worry about it and really was just talking about how he was joking about having the coronavirus,” said Kenney.

Panic soon turned to frustration for passengers of the plane as part of the flight crew did not want to fly after the incident. Crew issues and maintenance issues led to further delays, all totaling about eight hours. The man who created the initial havoc was arrested.

Airports are working to try to stop the spread and are a very big concern right now. Officials say the biggest concerns are social distancing and planes being an issue because social distancing cannot be done on them.

Dallas-Fort Worth Airport is one of 13 airports that Americans who are coming back after visiting restricted countries are being flown into so they can be tested for coronavirus.

Officials say you should wash your hands and avoid touching your face and take all necessary precautions to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.

American Airlines acknowledged that the passenger was arrested for making a false claim. We reached out for further information, and we are still waiting to hear back.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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