The Most Common Reason People Get Kicked Off Flights

Friends taking pictures on the plane
Photo: Nico De Pasquale/Getty Images

The flight crew doesn’t make the rules, but they can make sure you follow them.

Packing people on a tiny plane with cramped seats and less-than-desirable food options isn’t anyone’s idea of a party, but whenever you board a flight, it’s important to remember that everyone is there for the same reason: to get to where they need to be.

Unfortunately, this doesn’t stop some people from ignoring the rules that are put in place to make sure your flight is safe and on time.

Flight attendants spoke to Business Insider about the most common reasons people get kicked off flights, and you might be surprised to find out that decision is rarely up to the flight attendant. While they can try to calm passengers and remind them of safety issues, it’s ultimately up to the pilot whether or not the flight needs to make an emergency landing to boot a problematic passenger.

So, in other words, if someone is raising enough of a ruckus to prompt the pilot to get involved, a delay is probably coming your way.

But what are the key factors flight attendants look for when deciding if a passenger is going to cause problems? According to Business Insider, passengers get kicked off flights most often due to being visibly intoxicated or sick.

“Because we don't need you to get up to 35,000 feet and get crazy on us,” flight attendant Annette Long told Business Insider. As for sick passengers, flight attendants are usually keenly aware of people who look physically ill and generally suggest they take later flights during the boarding process.

Along those lines, insulting, threatening or getting physical with crew members and other passengers is a serious infraction that can lead to prosecution — and it’s often tied to passengers who are also intoxicated.

“If you cuss at a flight attendant, it's immediately considered a threat,” one flight attendant said. “If you got physical, depending on what the act was, how it happened, and who it happened to, that might divert the plane,” Long added.

Of course, the most serious reason why someone would get booted from their flight practically needs no explanation. Never, ever attempt to open the plane door (unless instructed). Again, this problem often is attributed to passengers who have been drinking — but not always.

Luckily, it’s physically impossible to actually open the doors mid-flight. But, depending on the situation, it can still pose a huge safety hazard.

Let’s keep the “friendly skies” friendly, and maybe keep that pre-flight cocktail hour short.

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