You already know from last week's column that drunks on planes can and do get booted from flights all the time. But what else can get you kicked off? Plenty, as it turns out, from foul odors to foul mouths and even wearing your politics on your sleeve (literally).
But one thing above all guarantees the heave-ho, and that's disobeying a crew member's order; on a plane, their word is law.
"The L Word" actress Leisha Hailey learned this the hard way; sure, the incident began with a kiss between girlfriends, but it was the ensuing argument that led to the women's removal from their Southwest plane. Aside to Ms. Hailey: Southwest isn't always quite so "family friendly," as you'll see in #7.
Let there be no doubt: No one wins an argument with a flight attendant. Not in time for takeoff, anyway. So if you want to make your flight, avoid the following behaviors: the 10 things that could get you kicked off a plane.
10 Things That May Get You Kicked Off a Plane
1. Too Political to Fly?
Avoid in-your-face politics; Lorrie Heasley of Washington was reportedly asked to leave her Southwest flight in 2005 for wearing a T-shirt featuring images of then President Bush, Dick Cheney and Condoleezza Rice along with the legend "Meet the Fockers." Only the spelling of Fockers was a little different, if you get my drift. She was told to either turn the shirt inside-out or leave the plane; she chose the latter.
2. Too Stinky to Fly?
Don't board a plane after a 10-mile run or whatever it is that makes you riper than an old slab of Limburger because raising a stink will get you the boot. It happened last year to a passenger aboard an Air Canada Jazz flight; in the words of a fellow passenger, the fellow's body odor was "brutal." It was all handled discreetly, however, and the unidentified man was allowed to fly out the next day presumably after he'd showered. It wasn't the first "too stinky to fly" incident, either.
In 2006, a German man was booted from his British Airways flight before its Honolulu departure because of his "overpowering stench." We don't know if this was eau de bratwurst or what, but despite his protests he did not fly.
3. Too Sick to Fly?
Flight crews can and do decide if a passenger appears too sick to fly, and we heard about numerous cases of "feverish-looking" people being told to travel another day during the H1N1 pandemic of 2009. United Airlines, for instance, dumped a Tampa passenger from its seating chart for appearing to have symptoms of swine flu; later it was learned she'd simply had a bad reaction to her restless-leg medication. By then, of course, she'd missed the plane.
Tip: If you are sick, do not fly. If you don't care about the rest of us, think how miserable you'll feel during that enhanced pat-down.
4. Too Fat to Fly?
I don't have to tell you about movie director Kevin Smith's embarrassing experience on that 2010 Southwest flight (there's that airline again); you've read about it ad nauseam, and it happens to plenty of regular "economy plus" size folks, too. Once in a great while, though, the reverse is also true.
The scene was a Southwest plane in 2010; only this time, according to one newspaper report, it was a "petite passenger" who was asked to leave her seat (and the plane) to make room for a robust teen who needed two of them. We understand the airline felt bad about dumping the "little lady" but didn't want to strand the kid who was traveling by herself, and personally I think they made the right call.
5. Too Foul-Mouthed to Fly?
Mother didn't know what she was talking about with that "sticks and stones can break your bones" business because names can hurt you and if they're curse words, bye-bye plane ride. That's what happened aboard an Atlantic Southeast Airlines flight this past June when passenger Robert Sayegh admitted dropping the F-bomb. The Brooklyn native said he was just doing what comes naturally because, where he comes from, "We curse as adjectives." Sayegh's occupation: children's book author.