Being an airline attendant is not just physically draining but can be mentally exhausting as well. One has to deal with cranky children, irate and sometimes drunk passengers, and do all this with a smile plastered on one’s face. But these smiles and polite demeanours will be on display up to a limit as the cabin crew has the right to ask a passenger to deboard for many reasons.
In this article, we list out five reasons why a passenger can be denied boarding or be asked to deplane anytime before take off.
1. Advanced stages of pregnancy
While each airline follows its own protocol, by and large, the rules remain the same. A pregnant woman will be allowed to fly until the 27th week of pregnancy if she is carrying a medical certificate from a doctor. Those who are travelling between their 28th and 36th week must carry a valid medical certificate stating that they are fit to fly. Please note that such a medical certificate must be issued 72 hours prior to the travel date. Post the 36th week, the airline is at liberty to deny boarding to an expecting mother.
2. Intoxicated state
Who wants to travel with drunk and obnoxious passengers, right? The flight attendant is at liberty to ask a drunk passenger to deplane if they feel that they could cause harm to themselves or endanger the lives of other passengers on-board. While the airline crew is trained to handle intoxicated passengers, it is not always possible to control them. The crew is also at liberty to deny a drink to a passenger if they feel that he/she has already consumed too much. If you happen to be seated beside someone you feel is intoxicated bring it to the attention of the cabin crew immediately.
3. Too sick to travel
A few months ago my family and I were returning from a trip abroad. My younger son developed an allergic cough, which seemed to have been triggered by something in the airplane. The senior cabin crew on that flight made it a point to note down his details – name, seat number, and his symptoms. When asked why he was doing that he said it was protocol and the crew on our connecting flight back to Delhi would also be informed of this.
Airlines have the right to refuse to board persons demonstrating conditions that may worsen or have grave consequences during the flight. If an unwell passenger’s health worsens on a flight then there might be an emergency landing. To avoid such unscheduled landing, which may cause a lot of inconvenience to other passengers, airlines, from time to time, refuse to allow passengers whom they feel to be too sick to travel.
4. Inappropriate attire
While there is no definition of what an appropriate attire is, there is enough debate about it on the internet. Less than a week ago, a lady doctor traveling with her 8-year-old son from Jamaica to Miami was denied boarding because according to the cabin crew, she was not dressed in an appropriate manner. While the lady took to Twitter to express her frustration and disgust at the situation, many other such cases came to light.
5. Not following rules
If a passenger is not adhering to the rules – smokes on-board when it is explicitly prohibited or continues to use the mobile phone even after being warned about switching it off, being unruly, getting into a fight with co-passengers and cabin crew, then he can be asked to deboard. This has happened several times in India as well. In December last year, a passenger on-board Vistara airlines a passenger was asked to leave the craft as he was insisting on smoking despite being given several warnings to refrain from it.
Next time you are flying do keep in mind that each airline has it’s own do’s and don’t’s, so refer to them and be responsible flyers!
(Edited by Saiqua Sultan)