NJ gym owner who defied lockdown bans airline after mask-less trip

A New Jersey owner of a gym notorious for challenging the Confinement linked to covid-19 was banned from American Airlines after refusing to cover up on his return from the Conservative Political Action Conference on Friday.

Ian Smith, 33, shared an email on Instagram Monday from the carrier, advising him of his ban “due to a recent incident with our mask cover policy.”


“Update on my recent flight to and from @cpac in Orlando – I got an email today saying I’m no longer welcome on AA flights for ‘the incident'”, Smith commented on the post.

” That does not bother me. I will be happy to take any punishment these people wish to give me. I will be happy to find a workaround.

An American Airlines spokesperson confirmed that Smith was banned after his Feb. 26 flight from Orlando to Philly.

“Mr. Smith was added to American’s face covering refusal list for failing to comply with repeated requests by crew members to wear face covering,” said representative Andrew Trull.

“As a result, Mr. Smith will not be permitted to travel in American while our face covering policy is in place.”

A previous video posted to Smith’s Instagram account showed him maskless at the Philadelphia International Airport and before, during and after his flight.

Smith calls America’s mask rules “silly and unnecessary” and encourages opponents to “have fun” by ignoring them.


Research has shown that wearing masks helps prevent the spread of COVID-19, according to the CDC and other health authorities. Multi-layered fabric masks can both block up to 70% of fine droplets and limit the spread of those that are not captured.

The owner of the Bellmawr, New Jersey gymnasium lost his operating license over the summer after repeatedly reopening despite his arrest and fines.

In December, Smith’s penalties were over $ 1.2 million. Its Atilis Gym continued to operate without masks or social distancing rules in defiance of local and state authorities.

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