4 Risks of Airplane Travel You May Not Have Thought About

There are millions of people who take flights on commercial airlines every year. The clear majority transpire with little inconvenience and no real issues- this is why flying still remains the most popular and efficient way to travel long distances quickly. However, from time to time things do happen and there are some risks involved with flying. Most people worry about things like engine failure and crashes which are thankfully very rare or more common issues like falling luggage, lost luggage, delayed flights, and annoying seatmates. Thankfully more serious issues ae still rare but they do happen and it is worth noting some of the risks of airplane travel that you might not be thinking about as you prepare for your flight.


1. Being Overly Protective of Passengers

Airlines have a responsibility to do everything they can to protect the safety of their passengers and the crew on every flight. This can, in rare cases, mean protecting passengers from possible dangers they are outing themselves in. One such situation occurred when Southwest Airlines removed a woman from a flight because they were worried about her safety. The airline says the removal was due to concerns about the safety of the woman if she was to remain on the aircraft and take the trip with her fellow passengers.

The airlines says the woman was removed after she reported having a life-threatening pet allergy but was unable to provide a medical certificate to fly. Airline representatives say a medical certificate is required for those with serious pet allergies under certain circumstances. “Our policy states that a Customer (without a medical certificate) may be denied boarding if they report a life-threatening allergic reaction and cannot travel safely with an animal onboard,” the airline stated in part. A support animal and a pet were on the flight, according to the airline (WJLA).

In this situation the risk was to the woman and the airline did what they thought was necessary to protect her.


2. Death or Mistreatment of Pets

It is difficult to travel one airlines with pets in even the most accommodating to situations. Larger dogs are often kept in a special area of the cargo storage area and smaller pets can travel in the cabin with their owners if they remain in a pet carrier. However, every now and then flight crew make a mistake that can lead to injury to a pet or even can result in the death of a pet. One such thing happened during a recent United Airlines flight. United Airlines apologized on Tuesday after a dog died on a flight during which it was stored in a passenger’s overhead compartment. A witness said that a flight attendant had ordered the pet owner to put the dog in the compartment before the plane took off… Putting animals in the overhead compartment is against the airline’s policies, which say pets are required to travel in carriers that “must fit completely under the seat in front of the customer and remain there at all times.” United said it was investigating who had put the dog in the overhead compartment and why. It is tragedies like this that continue to drive groups to fight for better care and accommodations for passengers traveling with pets.


3. Forceful Removal From Flight

This is one of the most feared types of flight risks passengers face and it is also one that is becoming increasingly common for a number of reasons. Some seen to happen without any real justifiable cause, as happened with United Airlines when they forced Dr. Dao to disembark.

“Dao, 69, was told he had to give up his ticket so a United crew member could take his seat. The man refused: He’s a doctor and said he had patients he had to see. United called security officers, who violently wrenched the man from his seat, bloodying his face, and dragged his limp body down the aisle. The passenger, David Dao, is at a hospital in Chicago recovering from his injuries, member station WFPL reports.” (NPR).

There are other stories and cases of airline crew removing passengers from flights for reasons that are often deemed questionable. In recent years we have seen stories of people being removed from flights for having crying children, for being disabled, and for being deemed too overweight to fly. While there may be some basis for these removals many times the motivation and justification of such action is often called into question.

4. Aggression and Language

It is basic common sense that if you argue with flight attendants, cause problems, fight with other passengers, or are seemed as being violent or threatening then chances are you are going to be removed from the flight. This happened on a Delta flight when Marissa Rundell, a 19-year-old mother from Rochester dealt with a screaming passenger named Peirez who was directing her rage at the mom. “The passenger was complaining about being seated near Rundell’s 8-month-old baby.  She came to the back and slammed her bags down. She said ‘this is f—– ridiculous. It’s bulls— having to sit in the back of the plane,'” Rundell recalled. When Rundell asked Peirez to stop swearing around her young son, Peirez allegedly said “shut the f— up and shove it.” …”You may not have a job tomorrow,” Peirez told a flight attendant. The attendant, who identified herself as Tabitha, then called for additional staff to remove Peirez from the plane” (Syracuse). There is no excuse for this kind of behavior and it is little wonder this woman was removed from the flight- most airlines will not tolerate aggression, swearing, and threats against crew of fellow passengers.

To learn about what to do if you have been injured while on a flight, whether it was during one of these situations or something else entirely, we are here to help. Call us today and we can review your case and discuss the options that are available to you. Contact us now to get started!