There are plenty of legitimate reasons to be kicked off a plane, such as drunkenness, tampering with the emergency exit door, or being abusive toward the flight crew. But then there are … these reasons.
The Worst Reasons to Get Kicked Off a Plane
From emergency bathroom trips to iffy wardrobe choices, these are the most ludicrous incidences of passengers getting kicked off a plane.
Guido Menzio, a 40-year-old man with dark hair and a foreign accent, aroused suspicion on a 2016 American Airlines flight from Philadelphia to Syracuse because he was scribbling diligently on a notepad, reports The Washington Post. His seatmate couldn’t figure out what he was writing, so she reported him to a member of the flight crew.
Menzio was asked to leave the plane and undergo questioning, which revealed that he was a prize-winning Ivy League economist—and that his ominous scribblings were, in fact, differential math equations. Talk about a miscalculation.
Menzio was eventually allowed back on the plane for a delayed departure.
Using the Bathroom
When you’ve gotta go, you’ve gotta go … even if it means you get kicked off a plane. On a 2017 Delta flight from Atlanta to Milwaukee, a passenger named Kima Hamilton wanted to get up and use the restroom while the plane was still on the tarmac, reports ABC News. After the flight crew denied his request, he agreed to wait—but 30 minutes later, with the plane still grounded, the urge grew too strong. When he returned to his seat after a quick trip to the bathroom, a flight attendant told him he had to get off the plane.
Delta said in a statement that Hamilton was kicked off the plane for failing to comply with crew instructions.
In February 2018, a 24-year-old passenger was kicked off a plane by an Emirates flight crew after one of them overheard her complaining about menstrual cramps, reports Business Insider. Although the passenger, Beth Evans, described her pain level as just “one out of 10,” a flight attendant decided that she needed to be examined by a doctor before she could be cleared to fly.
She and her boyfriend had to get off the plane and pay an additional 250 GBP each to find another way from Dubai to Birmingham, England. The airline claimed Evans was removed from the flight “due to a medical emergency.”
ABC News reports on not one, but two 2011 incidents of sagging pants causing passengers to be kicked off planes. One involved Green Day lead singer Billie Joe Armstrong, who was asked to leave a Southwest flight from Oakland to Burbank after a flight attendant told him to pull up his pants. This followed a similar incident earlier that year in which Deshon Marman, a college football player, was kicked off a US Airways flight and then arrested when his loose pajama bottoms were judged to be showing too much of his underwear.
Speaking of wardrobe issues, could a low-cut top get you kicked off a plane? That’s what a 21-year-old Florida woman claims happened to her on a 2017 Spirit Airlines flight from New Orleans to Fort Lauderdale, reports the Miami Herald. Spirit contended that she was booted off for drunkenness, but a fellow passenger, Cathy Supp, said that the flight attendants repeatedly badgered the woman to cover herself up. In the end, the young woman, her companion, and Supp were all asked to leave.
A kiss is just a kiss … unless it’s a kiss between two women aboard a Southwest flight, apparently. In September 2011, The L Word actress Leisha Hailey and her girlfriend Camila Grey were kicked off a plane following an argument with the flight crew over what Hailey and Grey described as “one modest kiss,” reports CNN. Other passengers allegedly complained about “an excessive public display of affection,” according to Southwest; Hailey tweeted that the flight attendant told them Southwest was a “family airline” and that such displays weren’t appropriate.
Southwest said in a statement that Hailey and Grey used “profane language” and that their expulsion was due not to the kiss but to “their aggressive reaction.”
Complaining About an In-Flight Movie
There’s plenty to complain about in the skies, but you may not want to be too vocal about it—otherwise you, like this family, could get kicked off a plane. A 2013 United flight was en route from Denver to Baltimore when the parents of two young children asked that the PG-13 movie being played on the overhead monitors be switched off due to violent and sexual images, reports SmarterTravel. After the flight crew denied their repeated requests, the captain diverted the plane to Chicago and had the family escorted off, citing “security concerns.”
Southwest Airlines doesn’t have assigned seating, but that didn’t stop a flight attendant from kicking a passenger off a plane following a seat switch in 2016, reports the Independent. The passenger, a Muslim woman named Hakima Abdulle, was flying alone from Chicago to Seattle when she asked the man next to her if she could have his aisle seat. He agreed, but a flight attendant told them they were not allowed to switch seats. When Abdulle asked why, the flight attendant asked her to leave the plane.
The flight attendant didn’t provide police with an explanation of why Abdulle was booted off, saying only that she did not “feel comfortable” with the passenger. Southwest said later in a statement that its employees “followed proper procedures” based on the passenger’s “actions” and “conduct.”
Bringing a Birthday Cake
A family’s 2017 JetBlue flight from New York City to Las Vegas for a 40th birthday celebration turned into a party pooper, according to the Chicago Tribune. The family brought along a buttercream cake, which they initially put in the overhead bin, then moved under a seat at a flight attendant’s request. One of the passengers, Cameron Burke, claimed that a disagreement then arose between two members of the flight crew over the placement of the cake.
JetBlue said in a statement that the Burkes “became agitated, cursed and yelled at the crew, and made false accusations about a crewmember’s fitness to fly.” Video taken by Cameron Burke shows his wife and children sitting calmly (though one child is in tears) as a JFK Airport police officer asks questions and requests Burke’s identification. The family was eventually kicked off the plane—birthday cake and all.
More from SmarterTravel:
- 11 Things Not to Do on a Plane
- 10 Ways to Survive a Long-Haul Flight
- 10 Things Not to Do at Airport Security
Follow Sarah Schlichter on Twitter @TravelEditor for more travel tips and inspiration.