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How NOT to Act When Flying

It seems like every week there's a news story about an airliner being diverted. Or someone being booted off a flight, due to questionable passenger behavior.

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This week's examples include a US Airways jet that was diverted to Bangor, Maine because a passenger claimed she had a surgically implanted device. She handed a flight attendant a note, written in French, seeking help and stated that she had an object in her body that was out of her control, according to reports.

The other example was a woman being told she couldn't fly due to her "offensive attire." The T-shirt she was wearing read, "If I wanted the government in my womb, I’d f--- a senator." The expletive was fully spelled out and pro-choice, political sentiment aside, American Airlines denied her boarding. American's contract of carriage allowed them to refuse transport of the passenger since she was, “clothed in a manner that would cause discomfort or offense to other passengers.”

A little common sense goes a long way. But it seems many people need a reminder of how NOT to act on a plane. Here are a few tips.

  1. Do NOT get drunk. This type of passenger makes the news most often, it seems, as it's the easiest way to make a fool of yourself. While having a cocktail before your flight may relax you, remember you're about board a flight and have a hundred or so other people around you. Flying should not be considered a party scene.
  2. Do NOT curse at flight attendants. Being belligerent will get you no where and often can get you a one-way ticket off the airplane. I boarded a flight once where a passenger told the flight attendant to "F- off" when being asked to change seats. The captain decided the passenger wasn't fit to fly and booted her off the flight.
  3. Do NOT allow your kids to act out. Traveling with children can be stressful for parents, but it's important to ensure their actions aren't causing discomfort to fellow passengers. Kicking seatbacks or climbing over seats should probably be restricted.
  4. Do NOT attempt to get into the cockpit. As I type this there is breaking news a passenger aboard an American Airlines flight bound for Miami attempted to gain access to the flight deck. This is a sure fire way you'll find yourself in zip-tie handcuffs until authorities cart you away after landing.
  5. Do NOT wear offensive clothing. I'm all for free speech, but there's a time and place for making a statement. Save it for a rally — airports and airplanes are not appropriate places to wear clothing with expletives written on them.
  6. Do NOT mention the 'B-word'. No, I'm not talking about a female cow, but rather the b-o-m-b word. It has no place in conversation in this post-9/11 world.

Finally, if you're approached by authorities for any reason when flying, simply remain calm and answer their questions. I was stopped by two Federal Air Marshals last month for a totally harmless reason, but politely answered their questions and was on my way.


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