You Could Actually Be Barred From Your Flight If You’re Sick

If you’ve ever considered flying with a nasty flu, you could be risking more than the health of your fellow passengers. In some instances, you could be kicked off your flight altogether.

Recently, a child traveling with his family on Alaska Airlines vomited before a flight. He and his family were removed from the flight and rebooked in first class the next day. Though the family was furious at the disruption in their travel plans, this station is actually far more common than you might think.

Department of Transportation regulations actually state that passengers that appear to be suffering from a communicable disease can be prevented from flying if the illness can be “readily transmitted by casual contact” and could mean “severe health consequences” for the passenger or fellow travelers.

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This means that you won’t be kicked off your flight for sneezing, but you could be removed if your symptoms seem to indicate something more serious than a common cold.

It’s obviously difficult to diagnose potentially serious conditions on the fly, but pilots seem to have ultimate authority over the issue, at least on paper. In reality, cabin crew, airline customer service reps, and the captain usually collaborate to decide if a passenger needs to disembark.

Signs that might lead crew to question someone’s ability to fly include profuse sweating, extreme paleness, shortness of breath, shaking, and any vomiting or extreme bleeding. It’s up to the crew to be extra cautious about medical situations, as treatment is unavailable in the sky and risking the safety of an entire plateful of people is a big no-no.

Still, if you’re an allergy sufferer, it might be prudent to hide those sniffles as best you can.