10 Ways to Get Kicked Off a Flight
Common restrictions you should follow so you won’t annoy the airline crew
By Christine Delsol, Frommer’s, February 12, 2013
We’re all aware of the very reasonable Federal Aviation Administration no-no’s that prohibit weapons, smoking and “interference” with airline personnel. But the airlines have their own rules, too. Some are less than obvious or a bit vague, and all are open to interpretation by and enforceable at the discretion of the crew. Let’s count the many things that might get you banned from boarding or booted from a flight before takeoff:
Removing your shoes may sound like a good idea, but it could get you booted from the plane. — Ghislain & Marie David de Lossy/Getty Images
1. Smelling like a locker room
Buying a ticket contractually obligates you to refrain from boarding in “a malodorous condition.” If you run out of time for a shower before your flight, at least take a sponge bath, just to be safe.
2. Bringing your germs onboard
If you appear seriously ill — especially with a condition that seems contagious — and can’t produce a doctor’s written permission to travel, you may not be allowed to fly.
3. Dressing inappropriately
Revealing clothing — including baggy pants hanging south of the undershorts — and T-shirts broadcasting lewd sayings or inflammatory political slogans have gotten passengers ousted.
4. Swearing like a longshoreman
Numerous conflicts during boarding that could have been resolved quickly ended instead with passengers being escorted off the plane when the fray escalated into a volley of foul epithets.
5. Showing up over-lubricated
A wee dram might relieve travel stress, but just appearing to be intoxicated is grounds for ejection. Even if you’re well below the legal limit, be sure your conduct is unassailable when you have alcohol on your breath.
6. Public displays of affection
Thanks to crowded flights with cramped seats, very little goes unnoticed by your fellow passengers on an airplane. So you’re better off saving any overtly enthusiastic displays of affection for your hotel room.
7. Raising a ruckus
Your grandson’s tantrum might not be your fault, but if you can’t settle him down while waiting for takeoff, it’s the airline’s prerogative to take you off the plane. And if you yourself are a noisemaker — or worse, your behavior crosses the line from mildly assertive to rather aggressive — you’re gone.
8. Taking off your shoes
Well, OK, you can be shoeless on the plane — though stinky feet might illicit complaints from those around you. But you need to keep your socks on. Barefoot passengers are technically verboten under most major U.S. airlines’ regulations.
9. Holding up takeoff
Preflight announcements cover some of the misdeeds that can end your trip before it begins: refusing to turn off electronic toys, blocking emergency exits or not fastening seat belts.
10. Wild card behaviors
News reports of passengers who have been ousted include some head-scratchers, including two men who allegedly pressed their noses against a female stranger’s neck to sniff her perfume. The upshot? Airlines have the final say on who gets kicked off, whether it’s because of “the risk of harm or damage” or the “risk of offense or annoyance