Kicked Off of the Airplane? You Are in Good (?) Company

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Photograph by FlyerTalk member UAPremierExec. Click on the photograph for a discussion about why the airline code for AirTran Airways is FL.

A large group from a high school in Brooklyn — 101 students and eight chaperones — were expelled from a Boeing 737 aircraft operated by AirTran Airways early in the morning due to “safety reasons” on Monday, June 3, 2013 at Fiorello LaGuardia Airport in New York as a result of reportedly not complying with the directions of the flight crew to turn off and stow away their portable electronic devices and sit in their assigned seats.
The flight to Atlanta was delayed for 45 minutes as a result.
The chaperones claim that the flight crew “overreacted”; that the expulsion was “not justified” and that they were “making a mountain out of a molehill” — and officials from the school have started their own investigations into the matter…
…but a statement from Southwest Airlines — which first announced that it was acquiring AirTran Airways in 2010 and is now the parent company — claims that the group violated safety regulations.
The students — currently matriculated at the Yeshiva of Flatbush, which is where I learned how to drive with driver education training classes, so watch out if you are in front of me on the road — were planning on rafting and visiting Six Flags Over Georgia, among other things.
I find that bizarre as to why they would fly all the way to the Atlanta area — where I am currently based, by the way — to go to an amusement park when they are within driving distance of Six Flags Great Adventure in New Jersey. There is also great rafting along the Delaware River between New York and Pennsylvania in what I consider to be one of the most scenic places in the world…
…but I digress.
Perhaps now — as a result of this incident — they might have no choice but to explore those options within driving distance of Brooklyn. Besides, they were all supposedly offered vouchers for future air travel.
If you were one of those students or chaperones, do not despair — you are in good company…
…that is, if you call the following company “good”:

Billie Joe Armstrong — the lead singer of the musical band Green Day — was on his way to Burbank from Oakland in 2011 when he initially reportedly defied the request to pull up his sagging pants. Armstrong was subsequently ordered to leave the airplane operated by Southwest Airlines — but not before he used some strong language to express himself.

Leisha Hailey — an Lesbian actress and musician known for her role in the Showtime network television series “The L Word” for five years — was reportedly escorted off of an aircraft operated by Southwest Airlines in 2011 for openly kissing girlfriend and Uh Huh Her band mate Camila Grey.

Michael Colyar — a black actor who appeared on Barbershop, which is a television show — reportedly refused to allow a flight attendant to move his luggage from the overhead storage bin so a white passenger could stow her bag there instead. The incident allegedly occurred aboard an airplane operated by United Airlines at Washington Dulles International Airport in 2011.

Alec Baldwin was forced to leave an airplane operated by American Airlines by its pilot because he refused to turn off his mobile telephone after the aircraft doors were closed prior to departure in — you guessed it — 2011.

We actually have an incident which occurred in a year different than 2011, when Josh Duhamel was escorted off of an airplane operated by US Airways at Fiorello LaGuardia Airport in New York in 2010 after refusing to turn off his portable electronic device and rudely “taunted the flight attendant.”

In fact, it does not matter who you are or what you did — you can get kicked off of an airplane, as evidenced by the following list:

You get the idea — and I am not even including the far more common and mundane reasons why passengers are removed from aircraft, such as being drunk or wearing the wrong clothing…
…so do not feel bad if you were one of the members of the group from the Yeshiva of Flatbush who was forced to leave the airplane — you are certainly not alone.
Have you ever been kicked off of an airplane before departure — or have you at least witnessed an incident where someone else was removed from the aircraft? Please share your experience here.

  1. Cry me a river for those passengers who get removed from a flight. It’s a big deal for the FA’s to take that drastic step. They could face serious career problems if they do that without justification.
    So, when the FA’s boot a passenger from a flight, I do not automatically agree that this was the proper course of action, but I am strongly inclined to believe that they acted reasonably.

  2. dhuey, the blogger that was kicked off a flight was told by a FA that photos are not allowed to be taken of the cabin of the aircraft, funny thing is, he took a photo of the IFE screen in front of him. Gratned at times passenagers are at fault for many of the issues, however, I have witness times when the FA really blew tings up bigger then what really was happening.

  3. I was on my way from Addis Ababa to Cairo on Ethiopian airlines. We stopped in Khartoum on the way (a “technical stop” where they let passengers off but not on). While we were stopped, a young Egyptian passenger in the back came forward to stand on the stairs and smoke. The FAs told him this was against guidelines to smoke but he called them a nasty name and refused. They called the police to take him away, but the police said they didn’t want him. They tried negotiating with the flight attendants, but they would not let him back on. We sat on the ground negotiating for over an hour, even after I jumped in, pleading with them that I was in the process of missing my 3rd connection of the trip and to just decide already to keep him on the flight or kick him off (the total flight ended up being Juba –> Addis Ababa –> Khartoum –> Cairo –> Paris –> LA, and I missed 3 of the 5 connections). In the end, he walked away with the police. Guess that will teach him not to mess the flight attendants again. The Ethiopian attendants implied that they had put up with a lot of crap from Egyptian passengers over the years; I suspect a group of high schoolers are no less dismissive.

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