In the safety-conscious world of modern air travel, recent years have seen increasing examples of passengers being refused permission to fly – with that in mind, we’ve compiled a list with Expedia UK, of some of the weirdest reasons people have been escorted from their flights prior to take-off.
1. The crying child
Toddlers cry. It’s just a fact of life. But that wasn’t good enough for the air stewards who booted three-year old David Yanchuk from his Alaska Airlines flight in 2012. When the youngster was told to turn his iPad off during take-off he became upset and refused to keep his seat-belt on.
Staff informed the captain, who returned to the gate and requested young David and his family vacate the plane, citing safety issues.
2. The unpleasant smell
In 2014, a 27-year old Parisian man was left baffled when he was kicked off his flight because he smelled too bad. The gentleman, who was flying from Charles de Gaulle airport to Dallas, was confronted by a steward prior to take-off while on his way to the bathroom, and asked to leave the plane and take a shower.
American Airlines later claimed there was an issue with the traveller’s visa, although the man made an official complaint against the company.
3. The cleavage issue
Southwest Airlines hit the headlines in 2012 when they refused to allow a woman to board her flight from Las Vegas to New York because her dress was too revealing.
The lady’s attire drew the attention of staff, who declared it inappropriate and insisted it broke the company’s rules on clothing which is “lewd, obscene or patently offensive” and requested she remove herself from the plane.
The airline – which had previously been criticised for its treatment of female passengers - later apologised for their over-reaction, offering a refund and an apology.
4. The Grinch
It all started with an innocent bit of seasonal goodwill. A flight attendant at LaGuardia airport in New York wished a passenger a merry Christmas, and all hell broke loose.
The Scrooge-like flyer berated the attendant, before lambasting an air steward upon boarding the plane for a similar greeting. The man’s rage reached fever pitch as he was dragged from the plane to a chorus of mocking Christmas carols from his fellow passengers.
5. The tweeter
When Duff Watson took to Twitter to complain about his treatment by Southwest Airlines staff after being refused priority boarding at Denver International Airport, he probably sent the message and thought nothing more of it – but he couldn’t have been more wrong. Eagle-eyed media monitors spotted his message – “Wow, rudest agent in Denver[…]not happy @SWA” - and decided that it constituted a security threat.
Watson and his two children were told they had to “exit the flight immediately”, and were not allowed to re-board until he had deleted the offending comment. Of course, upon landing he sent an even more critical comment, which sent the story viral – doing no end of harm to the airline’s reputation.
6. The tall guy
As if having to track down pricey super-sized clothes and shoes wasn’t punishment enough, a 6ft9in passenger endured the height of embarrassment when he was removed from a domestic flight in the US.
The unfortunate gentleman was kicked off the flight after realising he was unable to fit his legs into the space in front of him, tripping over a steward as he stretched into the aisle – despite having tried to arrange for an aisle seat prior to boarding. Horizon Air apologised to the man and granted him the ticket price off a future flight as a gesture of goodwill.
7. The … tortoise guy?
Bored social media star Jerome Jarre decided to keep his fans amused on a flight from Mexico to Miami by changing into his swimming trunks mid-flight, and squeezing himself into a child’s inflatable tortoise ring.
His silly prank may have entertained over 900,000 followers, but left him in hot water as he was detained by the FBI upon his arrival in the Sunshine State. Jarre was eventually released without charge and revelled in the aftermath with a series of celebratory tweets as the incident went viral – insisting that “everyone in the airplane loved it”.