You have to be very careful what you say and do in airports nowadays – with heightened security both in the buildings and on the aeroplanes themselves, it has never been easy to find yourself barred from flying for seemingly trivial reasons. We’ve taken a look back over the past few years, and come up with seven of the strangest reasons people have been kicked off flights!
7. Tearful tot branded a flight risk
When Mark Yanchuk’s three year old son threw a tantrum prior to take-off in 2012, he probably didn’t think much of it. Young David was upset at being told to turn his iPad off, and put up a fight when his father tried to put his seatbelt on – but this minor issue was blown out of proportion by overzealous Alaska Airlines staff, who demanded the entire family vacate the plane on safety grounds.
6. Airline kicks up a stink over passenger’s body odour
A French passenger filed an official complaint in 2014, claiming he was left embarrassed and humiliated after he was removed from his American Airlines flight to the United States because he smelled too bad. Despite the Parisian spraying himself with ladies perfume to cover up the stench, stewards confronted the 27-year old just before take-off and requested that he take a shower before boarding a later flight.
5. Blanket ban on skimpy clothing
Southwest Airlines’ ban on “lewd, obscene or offensive clothing” might sound reasonable in theory, but the company went over the top in 2007 when they barred Kyla Ebbert from travelling because she was wearing a revealing dress. The waitress later received an apology from the airline after a member of staff decided her dress was inappropriate and removed her from the plane. Ebbert was eventually allowed to board once she had obtained a blanket to cover herself up, but the damage – both to her emotional state and the company’s reputation – had already been done.
4. A not-so-merry Christmas to one and all
There wasn’t much festive cheer at LaGuardia airport in 2014, when a casual Christmas greeting led to a furious passenger being escorted off a flight to Dallas. A gate agent at the New York airport made sure to offer seasonal goodwill to all passengers as they boarded with a simple “Merry Christmas!” – only for one passenger to angrily retort that “not everyone celebrates Christmas”. The gentleman’s outburst led to him being thrown off the plane, to the amusement of his fellow passengers.
3. Twitter overreaction backfires
Another appearance for serial offenders Southwest Airlines, who prevented Duff Watson from boarding his flight at Denver Airport after he tweeted his dissatisfaction at being refused priority boarding. Mr. Watson’s post was relatively innocuous – “Wow, rudest agent in Denver – not happy at SWA” – but the company’s social media workers inexplicably took the comment as a threat, and refused to allow the man and his children to board until he deleted the offending tweet. Southwest Airlines’ approach backfired, however – Watson tweeted further accusatory comments after landing, and the story went viral, with millions of people learning of the story.
2. Tall tale gets Horizon Air into trouble
Being 6’9” is probably complicated enough at the best of times, without overenthusiastic airline attendants making your life even more difficult. When an unusually tall passenger found himself unable to fit into his seat, his outstretched leg tripped a flight attendant, who considered the issue a security risk and asked the passenger to remove himself from the flight. The embarrassing incident had a happy ending, however – Horizon Air gave a full apology to the man, and offered him money towards a future flight as compensation for the awkward incident.
1. Social media star’s tortoise prank goes awry
Attention-seeking social media celebrity Jerome Jarre hit the headlines in 2014 when his comedy antics saw him not only detained by on-board security during his American Airlines flight from Mexico to Miami, but interrogated by the FBI when he touched down! The 24-year star of Vine upset cabin crew when he changed into swimming trunks and donned an inflatable child’s tortoise ring during the flight. Although Jarre was not charged over the incident, he told his 7.5m followers that security were unimpressed with his japes – and even got the hashtag #AmericanAirlinesCHILLOUT trending on Twitter.
Words: GoCompare (www.gocompare.com/travel)