By now you’ve probably seen the viral video of a bloodied man being forcibly dragged off of his United flight. You may have also read about the whole clothing debacle, when the same airline was accused of banning two girls from boarding because they were wearing leggings.
Every airline has a “contract of carriage” which includes stipulations that prohibit certain people from boarding the plane, or could even get those individuals kicked off during the flight (after an emergency landing, of course). These rules vary from airline to airline but the basic gist is universal.
Extreme circumstances may be rare, but there are a few common behaviors that could get you kicked off your flight if you’re not careful. Ahead, find out some of the things you should definitely avoid doing before you board and while you’re in the air.
1. Smelling gross
Thinking of skipping that shower the morning before your flight? Think again.
Bad body odor could get you kicked off the plane. That means if enough seatmates complain that your smell is distressing, then a flight attendant may be forced to confront you about it and may even have you removed. Talk about an embarrassing conversation.
This actually happened to a passenger on an Air Canada Jazz flight. Fellow passengers reported that his body odor was “brutal,” and he had to delay flying until the next day, provided he take a shower.
Next: Skip the flight if you’re looking ill.
2. Being sick
Too sick to fly? You might be.
If you show up for your flight exhibiting visual signs of illness, you might not be allowed to board. This protocol is always enforced during flu season or when there’s some other highly contagious illness going around.
And even if you can fake it until you’re safely seated you might not be in the clear. Any time you’re clutching your chest, sweating, or showing signs of a heart episode, the crew will take every precaution to make sure you receive proper medical attention, even if it means an emergency landing in Cleveland.
Next: Some people need to purchase two seats.
3. Being overweight
Airlines politely refer to them as “passengers of size,” and if they didn’t buy two seats to accommodate their extra girth, it could mean they’ll have to get off the plane.
Airplane seats are small to begin with, and safety measures mandate that everyone must be able to buckle themselves in during takeoff and landing. If you’re carrying around a few extra pounds, you’re probably safe to proceed with just one seat. But severely overweight passengers should call the airline in advance just in case.
Even Hollywood folks have to abide by this rule. Take the case of famous writer and director Kevin Smith, who was publicly humiliated when he had to exit a Southwest flight after sitting down and stowing his bag because he was too fat for the seat.
Next: Clean up your language.
Brooklyn native and children’s book author Robert Sayegh got thrown off an Atlantic Southeast Airlines flight when he dropped an F-bomb. So you better watch your language, especially if there are small children around.
Next: Be wary of donning certain garments.
5. Dressing differently
Talk about irony. Atlantic Southeast airlines removed a pair of American Muslim religious leaders because their traditional garb made other passengers uncomfortable. Before getting booted from the flight, they were heading to a conference in North Carolina about prejudices against Muslims.
Next: Keep your voice down.
6. Being loud
If you have a naturally loud speaking voice, you may want to tone it down a bit before your next flight. Loudness falls under the category of disrupting other passengers, which is a big no-no when you’re on a plane.
Next: Put some clothes on.
7. Dressing sexy
This one may be subjective, but if you show up wearing a bikini and flip-flops, you most likely won’t be allowed to get on the plane until you put some clothes on.
You don’t have to wear a three-piece suit, but skimpy or otherwise offensive clothing (like saggy pants or anything emblazoned with swear words) is prohibited when you’re flying and could be the reason you’re kicked off your flight.
Next: Keep your kids under control.
8. Traveling with a screaming baby
That loudness rule doesn’t just apply to adults.
If your infant won’t stop screaming bloody murder and is disturbing other passengers (trust us, he is), then you could be asked to disembark the aircraft.
Next: Hold your liquor.
9. Getting drunk
Excessive drinking often leads to unruly behavior, and this combination could get you kicked off the plane. Plus, since the alcohol affects you differently when you’re in the air, you may find yourself getting too drunk too quickly.
Depending on how intoxicated you are, you may even get arrested once you land. So take it easy on the alcohol and save the partying for once you reach your destination.
Next: Control your temper.
10. Acting abusive
One man made threatening statements over the cost of a $12 blanket during a Hawaiian Airlines flight. The result? The plane was diverted to LAX and the 66-year-old never made it to his island destination.
Just remember to behave yourself before you board and when you’re on the plane. Save all those complaints for the customer service line after the completion of your flight.
Next: Don’t even think about lighting up.
Do we really have to say this one?
Despite the fact that smoking has been banned on airplanes for decades, some people still think they can get away with lighting up. Just don’t do it.
Next: Keep your shoes on.
12. Being barefoot
Southwest Airline’s contract of carriage states that any persons who are barefoot and older than five years of age can be removed from a flight, unless they must be sans shoes due to a medical condition.
Next: Listen to the presentation.
13. Ignoring instructions
Sure, the safety lecture is a little boring, but you should definitely pay attention and take the instructions to heart. It’s actually against the law to interfere with the presentation and even an innocent sarcastic comment could get you kicked off the plane.
Next: Be a little flexible.
14. Having too many demands
This is weird, but it could happen.
In 2007, three Arab princesses were removed from a British Airways flight in Milan because they weren’t able to sit next to men who they were related to. Unfortunately, they didn’t alert anyone to the situation until after takeoff! The pilot forced the trio of women to leave after a 3 hour-long argument over seating arrangements.
Religious rules aside, try not to have too many demands while you’re flying. Just sit down, smile, and enjoy the flight as best you can.
Next: Respect your flight attendants.
15. Disobeying the flight attendants
At the end of the day, almost any behavior that a flight attendant deems as “disruptive” could have you removed. Their job is to keep you and other passengers safe for the duration of the flight. So even if you are annoyed over something, it’s best to save your temper tantrum for after you land.
And don’t even think about physically assaulting your flight attendant — actions like that could land you behind bars.
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