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CHARLOTTE, N.C. – A woman was not allowed on her flight out of Charlotte Douglas Airport in North Carolina, all because of the type of mask she was wearing.  

Despite being offered a disposable mask, the passenger chose not to wear one provided by the airline, which meant she couldn’t fly.   

“’You can’t wear that, you have to wear a different mask.’ I said, ‘Well why?’” Tarus Woelk said. “‘Well, I can see your mouth.’”  

A short flight up to Virginia turned into a mess of misunderstanding for American Airlines passenger Woelk.   

She says the gate agent wouldn’t allow her to board a flight bound for Richmond, Virginia, because of the mask.  

“I was like, ‘Can you just take a minute and look at this? It’s a Shema mask, it’s used by professional athletes. It has a factor of 97 instead of 95. It’s more effective than what you want me to wear.”  

Despite trying to show and explain to the gate agent that her mask was allowed and effective, Woelk was given the option to wear a mask provided by the airline or not travel at all.  

“I do know that the airlines do not like this mask,” said Dana Marquez, the creator of the mask. ”They do not like it because it’s see-through”  

Marquez owns He knows his face covering caused commotion at the airport. After some feedback his company made another more travel-friendly version. 

“We actually came out with a version two mask that looks very similar to the version one that the airlines really like,” Marquez told Nexstar’s FOX 46.  

Major airlines in the United States all have the same basic standards, requiring face coverings: 

  • Cover your nose and mouth 
  • Secure under the chin 
  • Not contain exhaust valves 

All regulations Woelk thought she was following. 

“It just caused a huge mess,” Woelk said. “I’m wearing a mask. I’m being compliant.”  

FOX 46 reached out to American Airlines to get the specifics on why this this kind of mask isn’t allowed. They do note that no gaiters or valved masks are allowed.