Why is Everyone Getting Kicked Off Airplanes?

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I don’t think I’m alone when I say this, but what’s the deal with airline food? Wait, wrong decade. Sorry Seinfeld. But seriously, I think the new joke is, “What’s the deal with airlines kicking off passengers?” Don’t they want our excess baggage fees?

Now don’t get me wrong – I have nothing but respect for all the pilots, flight attendants and airline employees who work hard every day to get us where we need to go. But sometimes it does feel sort of like we’ve gone through the looking glass when we pass through that naked body scanner at the airport, into a world where things are a little topsy-turvy and backwards. 

There are moving walkways, tiny bottles of mouthwash that make you feel like a giant, and once you enter the terminal, that can of hairspray is no longer a harmless styling tool – it’s a deadly weapon.  

But hairspray isn’t the only ticking bomb in your bag. No, no. The Department of Homeland Security and the Transportation Security Administration have opened our eyes to so many things that we never realized were super dangerous, like gel shoe inserts and this 4.0 oz bottle of moisturizer that was taken away from my girlfriend because it was “way over” the 3.4 ounce limit.

Forget Wonderland, these days airports feel more like prisons. And just like prison, you have to go through a metal detector and/or a full body scanner at the entrance. So is it any wonder that people occasionally go a little nuts during their confinement? 

Here are a few of the crazier moments in recent airline history:

Alec Baldwin

The actor was kicked off an American Airlines flight last week because he refused to turn off his phone while the plane was at the gate getting ready for take-off in what’s quickly becoming known as Words With Friendsgate

Who does he think he is? Rules are rules, right?

Except in this case, the rule doesn’t make any sense. When turned to the airplane mode, a mobile device does not emit any signal. In fact, the New York Times makes a pretty good case that it actually might be more dangerous to make everyone power down for takeoff.

There’s no excuse for bad behavior (Baldwin had a bit of a hissy fit before being booted), but being forced to follow a pointless regulation can be pretty frustrating.

Gerard Depardieu

Have you ever been sitting on an airplane, desperately needing to use the bathroom, but trapped in by the seatbelt light?

Gerard Depardieu got drunk before the flight, then when he tried to use the facilities, he was denied permission. He then shouted “Je veux pisser, je veux pisser,” tried to pee in a bottle, missed and then tried to clean it up. The plane turned around and he was escorted off.

Here’s the real question: why wouldn’t they just let him use the bathroom? Were they afraid he might fall over while the plane was moving at approximately three miles per hour? It’s not like the toilet works differently when the plane’s on the ground. It still flushes the same way. And he’s an old dude, people should respect that.

Even when you really have to go, it’s not cool to pee on the floor… but why did it have to go that far?

Deshon Marman

This story was truly weird. Deshon Marmon, a 20-year-old University of New Mexico football player, was on his way from San Francisco to Albuquerque when he was orderd to pull his pants up. Police said Marmon, who is African American, was wearing his pants “below his butt and his boxer shorts were showing.” When he refused, he was arrested for trespassing, battery and resisting arrest. 

But six days earlier, a white man was allowed to board a US Airways flight in only a bra and panties. Eep.

Whether or not is was racism, it certainly seems like overkill to arrest a passenger for saggy pants. It’s obviously not illegal to let people see your underwear – although it might be in bad taste. So why all the drama?

In all three cases, it seems like that’s the real question. Does it boil down to uncooperative passengers or power-crazed airline personnel?

What do you think?

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