The Ugly American: 8 Guaranteed Ways to Get Kicked Off an Airplane

Travel Features

1. Drink Too Much

Flight attendants harbor huge resentment for partying passengers, probably because they don’t want to trapped in a flying metal tube hostage to a bunch of bloviating drunks for hours on end. And if you really want to piss off the cabin crew, belt a few back at the airport bar and be drunk before you even board the plane. They’ll block you at the door and make you dry out in a curled-up wad on the floor of the food court before they let you back onboard.

2. Insult the Flight Attendants

Verbally abusive passengers used to be gamely tolerated on airplanes, but now flight attendants are given broad liberty in their interpretation of the term “security risk.” An insult-spewing passenger is a risk to the safety of the other passengers because he is deflecting the attention of the cabin crew from their safety-related duties. See?

3. Joke About Bombs

Say anything, no matter how vague, that has a fraction of a chance of being loosely construed as a joke about a bomb. People are touchy. It’s not even that they’re afraid you really have a bomb—they’re afraid you’re insane for saying anything that would cause the cabin crew to bring up the question, and nobody wants to be stuck on a plane with an insane person.

4. Try to Open the Door Midflight

You can’t open an aircraft door midflight, because the cabin pressure seals it shut, but still it freaks the other passengers out if you’re acting insane—because attempting to open an aircraft door at 30,000 feet is insane—and again nobody wants to be stuck on a plane with an insane person.

5. Smoke

Smoking was once allowed on airplanes. In fact, airplanes used to be nothing but flying capsules of heavy carcinogenic fog, but then the day came when officials figured out that having a hundred individual little fires onboard an aircraft inflight was bad for business, seeing as how killing your customers causes a big decline in return patronage and all. So now if you light up a cigarette you can expect to be tackled, hogtied and tossed out onto the tarmac.

6. Refuse to Sit Down

There is absolutely, 100 percent, without a doubt, nothing a flight attendant hates worse, probably, than a passenger who won’t sit down during taxi and takeoff. If you are so hell bent on stretching your legs at this time, then be prepared to walk to your destination, because the plane is going back to the gate and your ass is getting kicked off.

7. Get in a Fight

It’s best to avoid brawling on airplanes, because brawls tend to escalate, spread to other aisles and then the people who aren’t fighting try to run away from the people who are, which causes a sudden shift in weight of the aircraft, which causes the wings to pitch and everybody to die. So if a flight attendant so much as senses the anger molecules emanating from your pores as you board the plane, she’ll probably have you tossed off just to bypass the probability of a fight.

8. Cry Like a Baby

A new trend in aircraft-cabin intolerance involves crying babies and the prompt removal of them, along with their parents, from the flight. Whether this is a good or a bad thing depends on which side of the diaper you’re on.

Hollis Gillespie writes a weekly travel column for Paste. She is a writing instructor, travel expert and author of We Will be Crashing Shortly, coming out in June. Follow her on Twitter.

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