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You Can Really Get Kicked off a Plane for This?

Yes. Yes, you can. And, frankly? Good.

In extremely uplifting plane news, two passengers were removed from an Air New Zealand flight at Wellington Airport this past Tuesday for not paying attention to the pre-flight safety instructions on their flight. If you have ever spaced out while your flight attendant was pointing out the nearby exits, and are currently panicking and thinking, “You can get kicked of a plane for that??” Well, yes, you can–but that’s not the whole story. It gets much worse!

This couple, described by other passengers on the flight as “high maintenance” and “wealthy-looking,” didn’t just space out during the safety video. They refused to pay attention—as in look at, at all, even for a moment—to the pre-flight safety video or briefing by the flight attendants, despite the fact that they were seated in the exit row.

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According to one passenger, the woman started reading her book as soon as the safety video started. Then, when “a flight attendant said very patiently ‘can you please watch what’s happening because this is the exit row,’” she kept reading her book until she got bored and switched over to her phone. Her partner stared at his phone the entire time. Then, in a move that is just about as childish and inconsiderate as humanly possible, the woman put her fingers in her ears when the flight attendant kept asking her to pay attention.

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The passenger, an adult woman, put her fingers in her ears so that she would not have to watch a safety video on an airplane. The flight attendant still continued to ask her to pay attention to the safety instructions but got nowhere. “They didn’t seem to care. The passengers behind them were saying ‘for God’s sake, it takes two minutes to look at it, just look at it’… they seemed like they were too important for it.”

So, the flight attendant stopped asking them to pay attention and instead asked the pilot to return to the gate so that the couple could be escorted off of the flight. In a statement to The New Zealand Herald, police confirmed the incident, saying, “Police were requested to meet a passenger at Wellington Airport today after she failed to comply with crew instructions. The passenger will receive an infringement notice under Civil Aviation Authority rules relating to the use of a cellphone.” The flight was delayed by 25 minutes.

A Gentle Reminder: Flight Attendants Aren’t Your Servants

This seems like a good time to issue a reminder to anyone who feels like being a complete jerk on a plane that it is important to pay attention to safety instructions, even if you think that they are boring and that you would rather spend those two minutes doing something else. You can do that something else in around two minutes. Right now, you’re about to fly on a plane. The safety video is designed to keep you safe in case the worst happens. Your flight attendants —who, by the way, aren’t just there to be your sky waiters —have the training to keep you safe in case there’s an emergency or accident while you are flying in the sky on a large plane. Yes, they are also there to provide you with comfort and things to eat and drink, but that is only part of the job. The other part may be saving your life. So, as you would with any other human person trying to do their job by you, show them some respect and maybe pay attention for a minute or two, especially if you are in an exit row —which, as you probably know, is where the exit to the plane you’re on is, and where you might be called on to help keep everyone safe.

Folks, we’re begging of you–just be cool. We’re all in this together. Try to just be cool to other humans, especially those just trying to do their jobs and keep you safe.

For more terrible passenger stories, please visit this stew of awful behavior, and if you are so inclined (and I highly recommend it), please let us know what you believe SHOULD get you kicked off a plane.

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