It seems like every day there’s another crazy story about people getting kicked off a flight.
I wrote about how to avoid getting your credit card shut down, so I figured I may as well also write about how to avoid getting kicked off your flight.
I don’t typically write about most of these stories unless I speak to a passenger on the flight to learn all of the details I can. I’ve spoken to people who have been kicked off JetBlue, Spirit, and Frontier flights and written about what went wrong there.
I haven’t spoken to any of the girls who were kicked off multiple Delta and KLM flights this past week, so I can’t comment yet on that story, though my inbox is always open. They finally made it home after switching to United.
With that being said, here’s what you should do or avoid doing.
- Avoid eating or drinking before takeoff.
- Flight attendants are watching like hawks before takeoff for anyone that looks like they may cause issues during a flight. A common denominator among the incidents linked to above are that they all happened before departure. According to one alleged eyewitness, the girls were also kicked off one KLM flight for eating during boarding. There’s no official rule against that, but airlines will back their crew over passengers in a dispute. It’s obviously significantly easier to remove someone from a plane before takeoff. Avoid giving flight attendants any reason to remove you before takeoff. Eat in the gate area or wait until after takeoff to eat.
- Make sure kids are fully masked, especially when boarding and before takeoff.
- Most flight attendants understand that young kids have a hard time keeping a mask on, but there are some that will go on a power trip to ensure everyone 2 or older is masked at all times. Once again, the before takeoff rule applies here. Don’t give any reason for a gate agent or flight attendant to remove you from a flight before takeoff. Try to make sure that your child’s mask is on properly at all times, but especially before the plane takes off.
- Avoid arguing about rules. Apologize and deescalate.
- Flight attendants sometimes make up nonsense rules. No, you don’t need to eat at designated mealtimes, but if your flight attendant is insisting on that, it’s not worth arguing about it. If you’re eating a bowl of cereal it’s not easy to mask between every bite, but if you’re asked to do so, just go with it. You can write into the airline afterward to complain, but don’t get into a confrontation or fight on the plane or else you may find yourself kicked off a flight or blacklisted from future flights. Instead, just apologize and move on to deescalate the situation and let the flight attendant enjoy the power trip. It may not seem fair, but it’s the wise thing to do.
- In an egregious situation, be sure to record video, but try to avoid pointing it in their face.
- Video evidence of an absurd request from a flight attendant or getting kicked off can be extremely helpful to fight back against an airline narrative of what happened. However, sticking a camera in a flight attendant’s face will also escalate the situation. The girls kicked off the KLM flights allegedly said that a crew member forced them to delete video recorded of what happened. Start recording as soon as you sense something is wrong, but instead of holding your phone up to record, consider holding it at an angle to avoid an in face confrontation. You can still hear what’s going on and hopefully you’ll be able to see what happened while avoiding escalating the situation. If you do have recordings, immediately send them to someone else or duplicate them to another folder in case you are forced to delete them. Be sure to also record interviews of people sitting next to you, along with their names/seat numbers, to get their perspective of what happened.
- Consider driving until the mask mandate is lifted
- While I’ve been flying for the past year, they have all been solo trips and we haven’t flown with the kids since January 2020. With a 2 year old, it just wasn’t worth the risk of getting tossed off a plane. But now we have a 1 year old that won’t have to wear a mask and a 3 year old that will hopefully wear a mask without too much kvetching, so we’re hoping to make a short trip later this month and I’ll probably have more tips after that flight. I guess I should bring bags of Bamba and lollipops in case our 3 year old won’t wear her mask?
What other tips do you have?