How to be booted off a flight

When you read an airline’s contract of carriage, you learn that even though you pay good money for your seat, the airline is under no obligation to guarantee you a particular seat, schedule or flight.

Airlines can also be fussy about the passengers they fly and where they are seated. Here are five reasons you could be booted off a flight.

1. Your seat is taken by the sky marshal
The sky marshal, a law enforcement agent who works to counter terrorism, receives first priority when it comes to seats on a flight. If one of them shows up to board your international flight and needs your seat, you’re likely to be rescheduled for another flight or booted from it altogether.

2. You or your child is being difficult
Before the flight takes off, you’ll want to make sure you, and any children travelling with you, remain on your best behaviour. If you behave in ways that are annoying, disruptive or disrespectful, or ignore the cabin crew’s instructions, you risk being removed from the flight.

3. The airline overbooks the flight or double-books your seat
With everyone booking flights via online computer systems, the margin for error in overselling flights and seats is real. Most airlines’ terms and conditions state that this is a possibility, and the airline doesn’t guarantee you’ll actually be on the flight or in the seat you chose. If this happens to you, you’re often eligible for compensation in cash or flight vouchers.

4. You don’t follow dress codes
Just because you wear it at home doesn’t mean it’s appropriate for a flight. Clothing with offensive wording, or that is too revealing or unhygienic, can be enough to get you booted from a flight. This decision is at the discretion of the cabin crew, whose priority is to ensure all passengers have a pleasant experience. 

5. You’ve already had too many drinks
If hitting the bar is the first thing you do when you get to the airport, you might want to rethink that move. You won’t be breathalysed, of course, but it’s at the cabin crew’s discretion whether they deem you too inebriated or otherwise-impaired to fly.

Related articles:
Flight booking mistakes
Dealing with flight cancellations
Pre-flight booze costs Aussies $250m

Amelia Theodorakis
Amelia Theodorakis
A writer and communications specialist with eight years’ in startups, SMEs, not-for-profits and corporates. Interests and expertise in gender studies, history, finance, banking, human interest, literature and poetry.
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