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Claire Newell shares tips on how to avoid being removed from your flight
It seems like it’s more and more often that we hear about someone or multiple people getting kicked off of a plane for causing a disturbance. And let me tell you, it’s not just that we are hearing about more cases where people are removed from airplanes for unruly behaviour, it’s actually happening much more often. The truth is it has never been easier to get kicked off of an airplane.
In June of this year, a group of high school students and their chaperones were ordered off a flight to Atlanta for refusing to sit down and turn off their cellphones.
In May, six friends were removed from a flight to Las Vegas for allegedly talking loudly.
Every few weeks we seem to hear about passengers being escorted off planes for all sorts of reasons.
The International President of the Association of Flight Attendants says the biggest challenge is getting passengers to turn off their phones. You might not think it’s a big deal, but not adhering to a simple request on the ground suggests that you might not be co-operative in a more serious situation. On the ground, passengers can be turned over to airport authorities. In the air, the plane might have to be diverted or the passenger restrained.
A guide to preventing and managing unruly passengers by the International Air Transport Association says that examples of disruptive behaviour go beyond not complying with safety procedures like fastening your seatbelt. It also crosses over into passengers appearing agitated or numb or using profane language.
One way to educate yourself is to Google the name of your airline and “Contract of Carriage.” The contract will include a section listing the reasons the airline may refuse to transport you, or remove you from your flight.
If you believe you have been removed from a flight unfairly, you can file a complaint with the Department of Transportation’s consumer protection division and you can also call Flyers Rights at 877-359-3776. They will walk you through the complaint process and send a letter to the department asking for an investigation.
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Claire Newell is the travel media expert for Global BC, host of the travel series Operation: Vacation, best-selling author, spokesperson, wife and mother of two. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.