Amir Khan says he is “disgusted” after he and a colleague were removed from an American Airlines flight on Saturday for reportedly failing to comply with face covering requirements.
The former light-welterweight world champion said in a Twitter post that he was trying to fly to a training camp in Colorado from New York, but he and his colleague were removed when someone complained his colleague’s mask “was not high enough”.
Khan then claimed he was escorted from the flight by police “for no reason”.
Khan said: “I was taken off the plane today when I was going to training camp to Colorado Springs by the police.
“Obviously a complaint was made by American Airlines staff, they said that 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 on 1A, he was sat on 1B – I find it so disgusting and so disrespectful, I was supposed to go to Colorado Springs for a training camp and now I’m back in New York for another day.
“Now I have to reschedule another airplane to travel back to training camp which is really upsetting, for no reason this was and I’m just so disgusted that American Airlines would do this to us and ban me from travelling.
“I’m sure there must be cameras on the airplane that they could see, or someone should see, to see that if my colleague really was bad in any way or caused a scene in a way where he had to be taken off the plane – I’ve never seen this happen before.”
However, American Airlines disputed Khan’s claim that he and his colleague were removed “for no reason”, stating that they reportedly would not comply with a number of crew member requests.
The airline also denied that police were involved in asking either of the passengers to leave the flight, or that they had been banned from flying with them again.
An American Airlines spokesperson said: “Prior to take-off, American Airlines Flight 700, with service from Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) to Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW), returned to the gate to deplane two customers who 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.
“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.”
Khan was a lightweight silver medallist at the 2004 Olympics in Athens before making his professional debut a year later.
He stepped up to light-welterweight and claimed the W(BA) world title in 2009 with a win over Andreas Kotelnik before claiming the IBF belt with victory over Zab Judah two years later. However, Khan surrendered his titles to Lamont Peterson later that year.
The 34-year-old also fought Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez for the middleweight world title and Terence Crawford for the welterweight world title, but was stopped on both occasions.
He last fought against Australian Billy Dib in Saudi Arabia in 2019.