How to Not Get Kicked Off an Airplane

Earlier this week, a cancer victim made headlines after she was kicked off of Alaska Airlines for not having a doctor’s note.  After the story went viral, the airline had to apologize and reimbursed her and her family the money for tickets and accommodation.  Nowadays, cabin crews are under pressure to police the skies, and it isn’t always clear what constitutes a security threat or what could be offensive to others.  If you travel enough, you’re bound to see a passenger get kicked off the aircraft; sometimes before the plane is fully boarded, but also when the plane is getting ready to push back from the gate.  I recently came across an article that shared some tips for not getting kicked off a plane.

Nelson Lewis hijack

Don’t joke around: Making jokes about hijackings, weapons or bombs while going through security or boarding a plane is more than just not funny, it will also get you arrested.  And people who threaten or assault a crew member, damage the aircraft or make any threatening statements are also removed.

Nelson Lewis swearing

Don’t swear: Back in 2011, Gawker published a story about a passenger who turned to his seatmate and dropped an F-bomb while asking why it took so long to close the overhead compartments.  Not long afterwards, after the aircraft took off, the pilot turned the plane around and the police removed the passenger from the plane for being “disruptive”.  Even if this is pretty extreme, it’s a good idea to be safe rather than sorry.

Nelson Lewis t-shirt

Don’t wear offensive clothing: Airlines have something known as a “contract of carriage”, which you agree on when purchasing a seat on a plane.  These contracts vary by airline, but Southwest Airlines has clearly stated that they can “refuse to transport or remove” passengers for all kinds of violations, including those “whose clothing is lewd, obscene or patently offensive”.  Last month, a passenger was removed from a flight at Denver International Airport for wearing a T-shirt that read “Broad F%#@ing City”, in promotion of the Comedy Central show “Broad City”.  After the passenger refused to remove the shirt, he was denied passage by the airline.

Nelson Lewis stinky

Don’t stink: Airlines reserve the right to remove you from the plane if you emanate what they define as an “offensive odor”.  Even if you think you smell fine, others around you might speak up, and you’ll be left back at the gate.  Such an occurrence is unusual, but it’s happened before.