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10 Things That Get You Kicked Off Airplanes

You might want to be a little more careful about your in-air behavior.

As viral videos and news stories of misbehaving celebrities have made clear, if you make the wrong impression on a plane, you might get booted. Most of us probably imagine that such things could not happen to us—we aren't the types prone to starting fights or packing contraband into our carry-on bags. But you might be surprised by the range of behaviors that could get you kicked off, sometimes even the smallest infractions. Here are 10 things you should avoid unless you want to find yourself grounded.

Going barefoot

Barefoot Plane

One of the first things you might do as you settle in for a long flight is to pull off your shoes and get comfy. You can still do this, but be cautious that your feet don't smell. You should also put those shoes—or a pair of slippers—back on if you head to the bathroom. But whatever you do, don't go barefoot, which some airlines view as worthy of removal.

Looking sick

Sick Man at Airport Plane

Whether due to drunkenness or a bug you picked during your travels, if flight attendants get a sense that you're about to puke, they're not going to want you on the plane. Those barf bags only do so much and, as crummy as you feel, do you really need to subject a few hundred other people to your illness? We think not.

Smelling bad

Woman Smelling Foul Odor on Plane

Speaking of unpleasant aromas, you can be removed for reeking, or, what Delta calls "a malodorous condition." Whether it's a dark cloud of body odor floating above you, excessive flatulence, or some foul-smelling substance you've got stored in your carry-on, stinking up a plane is not going to make you popular with the passengers, or flight crew. So tidy up before you board.

Being too big

Woman Fastening Seatbelt on Plane

The flight attendant is not going to pull out a scale or anything, but, as Delta puts it, if you are "unable to sit in a seat with the seatbelt fastened," you can be removed. For big guys, that usually means buying two seats and getting a seatbelt extension to ensure that they fit and can buckle up.

Joining the mile-high club

single airplane bathroom slightly open

Something about the elevation might put you and your seatmate in the mood for some of your own in-flight entertainment. But if you get caught fooling around in the bathroom, you can be removed from the plane. It's not technically illegal, and thousands of people report having done it, but just exercise caution.

Getting drunk

Drunk Businessman at Airport Plane

If those gin and tonics at the airport bar were more potent than you realized and you stumbled onto the plane looking clearly intoxicated, flight attendants may ask you to turn right back around. Same goes if you drink yourself into a stupor on mini bottles of bourbon while on the plane.

Breaking parts of the plane

tray table airplane

When that tray table or seat-back touchscreen isn't working properly, it can be extremely annoying. But before you try to express your irritation by smacking it, you might be opening yourself to trouble. Delta's rules state that, "When the passenger's conduct creates a risk of harm or damage to the carrier's aircraft and/or property," they can be booted.

Touching other people's stuff

Carry On Luggage Plane

Likewise, if you damage the property of passengers, you can be removed as well. So even if it seems like the guy has totally taken over the overhead space with an oversized gift box, you should not try to fix the problem by cramming your bag in there and crushing his stuff.

Being a jerk

man too late to board

American requires that all passengers "behave appropriately and respectfully with other passengers on board," while Delta says they can kick you off if you create "an unreasonable risk of offense or annoyance to other passengers." So even if you're in a crummy mood, you might want to keep it to yourself unless you want to risk ending up back on the ground.

Dressing inappropriately

people boarding the plane

Believe it or not, looking too sexy can run you into trouble. Most major airlines reserve the right to remove people from the plane who are dressed provocatively. United requires that passengers be "properly clothed" and Southwest will not allow outfits that are "lewd, obscene, or patently offensive" (though these are subjective and rarely enforced). And for more ways to be a better passenger, try not to do any of the 23 Things That Totally Horrify Flight Attendants.

Alex Daniel
A journalist based in Brooklyn, New York. Read more
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