6 Unusual Reasons You Can Get Kicked Off a Plane

See recent posts by Stefanie Waldek

Courtesy of Flickr/Bill Abbott

Courtesy of Flickr/Bill Abbott

When you purchase an airplane ticket, you’re agreeing to a lot of fine print—most of which you probably have never read. One important thing to note is that when you’re aboard, the crew essentially has ultimate authority, and they’re able to make the call about kicking you off the plane. Sometimes it’s obvious why the give a passenger the boot. For instance, heavily intoxicated passengers will likely be escorted off the plane. The same goes for anyone who is unruly on violent. But here are six other reasons you might be kicked off a plane that you might not have been aware of.

1. You smell bad.

Nearly every U.S. airline has a clause in its contract of carriage that reserves crew the right to eject any passenger who has a malodorous condition, save the disabled. So take the time to swipe on the deodorant or spritz a little perfume or cologne pre-flight.

2. You are barefoot.

Again, many U.S. airlines mention being barefoot as a possible reason to be kicked off a flight. I have a couple of theories on why. The first goes back to the first item on this list—feet often smell bad, therefore it is a courtesy to fellow passengers to keep your toes tucked into your shoes. The second is that it’s a matter of safety. In case of an emergency, I would imagine it is safer to have shoes on to evacuate a plane.

3. You dress provocatively.

American Airline’s Condition of Carriage states that the crew may refuse transport of passengers that “are clothed in a manner that would cause discomfort or offense to other passengers or are barefoot.” The wording is vague, and that’s intentional so as to leave it up to the crew’s discretion. There have been situations regarding women showing too much cleavage and men refusing to pull their saggy pants up. Another no-no? Wearing shirts that display foul language.

4. You are too heavy.

Delta’s Contract of Carriage puts it in a relatively less offensive way, reserving the right to eject a passenger “when the passenger is unable to sit in a seat with the seatbelt fastened.” They’ve angled it in terms of safety, as all passengers are required to buckle up during takeoff and landing.

5. You are annoying.

Delta (though it is by no means the only carrier to have this rule) also states that a passenger might be kicked off a flight “when the passenger’s conduct creates an unreasonable risk of offense or annoyance to other passengers.” Again, there’s vague wording to allow the crew to make the call at their own discretion. 

6. You are handcuffed.

United reserves the right to eject “passengers who are manacled or in the custody of law enforcement personnel.” I don’t think there’s anything else that needs to be said here.

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