Sometimes, it’s understandable when a person gets removed from their flight. Maybe they’re aggressive toward other passengers or have some behaviors that are suspicious.
But sometimes, the airlines’ decisions have passengers miffed. What’s the difference between an emotional support dog and a pig, for example? And how do flight attendants choose who stays and who goes?
In most cases, airlines give their flight crew the power to decide whether passengers pose a risk. In nearly all cases, the airlines even defend their crews’ determinations. Of course, that doesn’t mean they don’t foot the bill for alternative flights or follow-up accommodations when stranding passengers at the terminal.
That said, the following strange stories involve more than just riled-up passengers with a bone to pick. From weird emotional support animals to passengers with unconventional luggage, here are 20 strange stories of travelers who got kicked off their flights.
20 Removing The Plane’s Door Is So Not OK
The Sun reported that a passenger, who had apparently been imbibing, made his way onto the flight without a problem. But right before takeoff, the guy jumped out of his seat and flung open the emergency door—tearing it from the frame and activating the slide. Clearly, the guy didn’t make his flight home from Thailand that day.
19 Twerking Isn’t A Rite Of Passage On The Plane
It’s one thing when Serena Williams twerks in front of a private jet… But this lady did it differently. First, she refused to put her phone away… Then, she seemingly had a meltdown, showed her bottom to the packed plane, and began twerking while people were recording, AU News reported.
18 Be Careful With Your Beverage Orders
Passengers on a Southwest Airlines flight were served water while waiting for their plane to depart, and one man made a joke about asking for vodka instead. The flight attendant, however, was not impressed—and Fox News reports that she had the guy kicked off his flight for it.
17 I Will Turn This Plane Around!
A pilot on a flight leaving Calgary had enough of one passenger’s bad behavior, so he cut the flight short. AU News reported that the man repeatedly tried to get up and use the bathroom during takeoff and berated other passengers. Moms all over the world can relate to the passenger’s decision to turn the plane around.
16 A Non-Living Passenger Got Her Booted
Did you know that federal regulations say you can buy a seat for your instrument? That’s exactly what one woman did, but on the final leg of her trip, she and her cello were removed from the plane. The airline insisted it was because the cello “didn’t fit” in the seat she bought for it, Fox News reported.
15 Vomit Winds Up Ruining Mom’s Flight
When a mom and her teen daughter boarded their flight, they were grossed out to find vomit on the daughter’s assigned seat. But when the passengers tried to get help from the flight attendant, they were told it wasn’t her job. The mom got upset—and later kicked off the plane and detained, Simple Flying reported.
14 Couple Skips Safety Briefing, Then Flight
One couple had to reschedule their trip after the flight crew decided they were a security risk. Why? Because the couple was seated in the emergency exit aisle and refused to pay attention to the safety briefings, Newsweek reported. And instead of being embarrassed, they seemed “chuffed” about the events.
13 Airline Balks At Mom’s Outfit
One mom attempted to board her flight wearing black slacks and a lacey black top—but the flight attendant told her she couldn’t board unless she “put a top on.” Embarrassed, the woman—Harriet Osborne—put on a friend’s sweater, but the airline still declined to let her board, she told Mirror.
12 An Airline Mistake Means Trouble
Imagine getting on a flight, and then finding out someone else has been booked for your seat. That’s what happened to the Wientjes, Forbes notes, but instead of United Airlines solving the problem, they eventually kicked the couple off the flight. That was after the duplicate seating issue was fixed, too.
11 Airplane Mode Isn’t Always The Fix
On one SkyWest/Delta flight, USA Today wrote, a woman briefly argued with a flight attendant over whether her phone was in airplane mode. Then, the woman was removed from the flight. People who defended the woman—who told the flight attendant she’d put her phone in airplane mode ASAP—were kicked off, too.
10 Ticket Required To Ride
This story is strange because the person who was removed from the flight never had a boarding pass or valid ID. People reported that Sylvia Rictor was in another passenger’s seat, which is how flight attendants figured out she didn’t have a ticket. She also tried to use a smartphone photo as ID.
9 Babies On The Plane
A woman who had a few adult beverages before getting on her flight was adamant that she wouldn’t sit next to a three-year-old. And, as NY Post reported, she didn’t end up doing so—because she got booted from the plane. The woman, Valerie Gonzalez, also spit on a passenger who was recording her.
8 Pooch In First Class
A man named Dana Holcomb boarded his flight with no problems and proceeded to his first-class seat. But his seatmates were a woman and her support animal—and Holcomb is allergic to dogs. But the airline wound up kicking him from the flight when he refused to move to an economy seat, The Root reported.
7 Pigs Really Can’t Fly
One woman was removed from a flight—along with her “disruptive pig”—CNN reports. At first, the airline staff let the woman pass with her piggy friend. But once they boarded, the pig started making a mess and “howling,” witnesses noted. After that, the woman and her pet pig departed the flight.
6 Too Smelly To Board?
Body odor is a difficult thing to sort out because everyone has a smell. But a pair of hikers were booted from their flight because passengers complained they were smelly. As Outside Online reported, the hikers did shower before boarding, but it didn’t help. They were given travel-size toiletries and told they could take a flight the following day.
5 Skin Condition Scares Flight Attendants
Both Jordan Flake and her son have ichthyosis, a rare skin condition. But it was their dry-appearing skin that caused a flight attendant to remove them from their plane, MarketWatch says. Jordan took to her social media accounts to highlight how messed up it was, given that her skin condition isn’t contagious.
4 Peanut Allergies Pose Risks
Time reports that a one-year-old baby and his parents were booted from a flight. But was the toddler crying or causing problems? Nope—it was his peanut allergy that was an issue. The airline said it wasn’t recommended that the child fly—but how was the family supposed to travel?
3 Potty Breaks Mean A Change In Travel Plans
One man was detained by the FBI after he got up to use the plane’s bathroom while the aircraft was taxiing. While the man was hoping to avoid an accident in his seat, MPR News reported that immediately, the plane taxied back to the gate and he was asked to deplane.
2 Snoring Seatmate Gets The Last Laugh
One woman was so fed up with her seatmate’s snoring that she got kicked off the plane, ABC13 reported. The woman apparently poked her neighbor with a pen while he slept—ostensibly to stop him from snoring—and the airline said she was creating a disturbance and made her deplane.
1 Testy Flight Attendant Ruins Passenger’s Day
The strangest story comes from a woman on holiday who got booted for no reason. Tiana Fough was chatting with another passenger while boarding, she told Washington Post, when a flight attendant started yelling at her. Other passengers stood up for her, but she was still removed from the flight—and she never learned why.