British former world champion boxer Amir Khan has claimed he was treated “disgustingly” after being booted off an American Airlines flight in an apparent row over a facemask.
Khan posted a video on his social media accounts claiming the argument had erupted on a flight from Newark because a person he was traveling with was not wearing their facial covering “high enough”.
“I was taken off the plane today when I was going to training camp in Colorado Springs by police,” said the 34-year-old Muslim fighter, adding the hashtag ‘Not all terrorists’.
“A complaint was made by American Airlines staff, they said my colleague’s mask was not high enough and not up, that they had to stop the plane and take me and my friend off when I did nothing wrong.
“They kicked us both off. I was sat at 1A and he was sat in 1B. I find it disgusting and disrespectful.”
Former light-welterweight world champion Khan is preparing to make a ring comeback against British rival Kell Brook, more than two years after his last contest in Saudi Arabia.
“I was supposed to go to Colorado Springs for a training camp and now I’m back in New York for another day and I have to reschedule another plane to travel back to training camp,” added the boxer.
“It’s really upsetting, there was no reason and I’m so disgusted that American Airlines would do this and ban me from traveling.
“There must be cameras that they can see to see if I or my colleague were bad in any way or caused. a scene in any way.
“I’ve never seen this happen before and I’m heartbroken.”
However, the airline’s version of events appears to differ from Khan’s as it denied that police had intervened or that Khan had been banned from the company.
“Our customer relations team is reaching out to Mr Khan to learn more about his experience and reinforce the importance of policies implemented for the safety of our customers and crew,” the company was quoted as saying.
The flight from Newark Airport to Dallas-Fort Worth returned to the gate after two customers “reportedly refused to comply with repeated crew member requests to stow luggage, place cell phones in airplane mode and adhere to federal face covering requirements,” it added.
A spokesperson also said that police were present when the aircraft returned, but were not involved in asking either passenger to leave.
Khan is a former Olympic silver medalist who is estimated to has amassed career earnings of around $40 million.
The Bolton-born star is preparing for a potential career swansong against fellow British veteran Brook.