Why Can't People Who Want It Get Off a Plane?


Something I don’t understand…what is it about getting on a plane that suddenly results in someone losing basic, fundamental rights, i.e. the kind that can’t be signed or traded or sold away?:

I don’t know specifics of actual events in article, but assuming arguendo that, for the all passengers that were detained, all did was ask to de-plane, and then insist on pressing their rights, there’s something I just don’t get, legally that is.


There are laws around deplaning after the doors are closed. My wife was a flight attendant for 8 years and knows a lot more than me about these things. I can’t argue the logic behind them but there is an agreement you enter legally upon purchasing a ticket and boarding an aircraft.


Yep…I’m kinda aware (contract of carriage or something like). The civil libertarian in me say that’s problematic, though. Some rights can’t be signed away: I can’t sign over my freedom and become a slave in perpetuity, for any consideration, for example. Or sell my kid in same way. Ignoring the “federal” aspect for a moment, this would be a lot like once I go in a public theater to watch a movie, I wasn’t allowed to leave, no matter what, because “shhhhhhh…we’re watching the movie”.

I am not saying no repercussions could result, e.g. maybe I can’t ever come back to theater or fly on that airline again, but effectively kidnapping someone? And then arresting them because they don’t feel like being kidnapped?

I get the practical considerations, but I also get the practical considerations of never letting anyone leave their house without a government ‘minder’…everything’s much safer that way!


Because if you have a bomb in your checked luggage they want to make sure you are on the plane with it.


lol…that’s a good way to weed them out! Of course if a bomb made it on a plane, the airline/airport has much bigger issues involved.

But I don’t really want the government, or whomever, to assume I am committing a crime and then treat me as a criminal based on that assumption.

And same consideration applies to my theater example, of course. But I don’t think even that consideration overrides the fundamental right of people to just say “I’ve had enough…I’m out.”


The question then comes up what if you decide you’ve had enough when you are in the air halfway to your destination? What difference does it make if you are on the ground or in the air? Once you board your plane you have agreed to stay on that plane until you get to your destination. If there is a delay in air and the plane has to circle you can’t demand to be let off the plane or demand them to land somewhere else so you can get off. You have signed away those rights in your contract of carriage, temporarily until you get to your destination.


To add to @indytruks138 ‘it’s a law’, not only that, but in this particular situation, international travel comes with way more rules and laws. How passengers deplane from international locations is highly regulated. The airline wouldn’t have been allowed to just pull up to a gate and let the Passengers off for a bit to wander about the airport before getting back on.

Now, that being said, the not offering water/soda and snacks is just poor customer service. Or likely the FAs didn’t believe they had the authority to give those things away for free. Which is stupid on the airlines part if that’s the case. Probably poor communication led to the flight crew being unsure how long the delay would be. There are laws on how long you can keep customers on aircraft on the tarmac before incurring fines though, not sure how that works though, especially for international flights.


Pretty much anyone with a badge is thinking you’re a bad guy and just waiting for you to show it.

Source: I work with a buncha ex-law-enforcement folks - local, state, and federal three-letter types.


Not exactly, when you leave the theater you aren’t entering a highly secure and regulated area. Also…are you just going to jump from the door to the ground? Because that’s what you’d have to do whether the plane was in the air or on the tarmac.

Edit: Also, to add to this, you would be endangering other passengers and the flight crew if you did this


Somewhat apples and oranges, since one is actually impossible, at least not without actively endangering others, and the other is reasonably straight-forward: open the door and let someone off since you are on the ground.

I am sure literally no one can understand the contract that gets signed, or it’s implications, when you buy a plane ticket, but I can’t believe that you are essentially a legal captive, able to be held without food, water, air conditioning, working toilets, or whatever, until you get where the airline told you they were going. At some point it becomes ridiculous for passengers to allow it to continue…right? And airlines have no problem deciding at any point to take you wherever they decide is more convenient. for them, but that point is slightly off the main point of my concern of essentially being kidnapped.


Correct, at some point it becomes ridiculous, which is why there are rules around how long you can keep people on the ground with the door closed before you have to deplane.


They aren’t.

depending on the actual numbers and time delay, it’s not unlikely the airline will be fined.


Not exactly ~= “a lot like”, as in not trying to draw a perfect analogy with my example. Also, “Ignoring the “federal” aspect for a moment” = let’s not muddy the principle(s) and right(s) I am exploring and concerned are being ignored with “whatever the feds want is best for you” points.

1 – No one has a right to act in a way that endangers others.
2 – No one has a right to hold you captive against your will.
3 – It is not legal (I think?) to contract for this either, as contracting for something illegal necessarily voids the contract.

Right? (at least so far?)

(edit: hate Discourse stoopid forced indenting rules. dopes…)


That’s actually a relief and make situation a lot better/more sensible! I hope the passengers in question were apprised of this by crew. If you know what the time is, I am interested. I’ll be googling for it in meantime if you don’t.


Or I can just read LS’s link :–)


Also, because I was curious and couldn’t remember, here is this quote from a different site re: fines

Exceptions to the time limits are allowed only for safety, security or air traffic control-related reasons. The rules also require airlines to provide adequate food and water, ensure that lavatories are working and, if necessary, provide medical attention to passengers during long tarmac delays.

Stiff financial penalties actually give the rules teeth, and airlines have modified their behavior as a result. The number of stuck-on-the-tarmac incidents has declined since the new rule; the penalties start at $27,500 per passenger.


Apparently you can get off an airplane if you demand it and the airline is violating Federal law. Some quotes from the article that most here must not have read :slight_smile:

The plane was stuck on the tarmac in Oakland for at least four hours and Aeromexico staff onboard the “sweltering” plane did not offer any food or water, passenger Jazmin Eunice Sarabia said.

That man and another passenger were detained for interfering with an aircraft and flight crew but after talking to the men, they were allowed to leave without being arrested, according to the Sheriff’s Office.


BTW, in case anyone read orig article, passengers involved in this specif instance weren’t actually arrested, just detained (although I am pretty sure some folks have been somewhere sometime for similar situations).


We cross-posted :–)

But to be clear, I was exploring the general issue, as opposed to the specific circumstances involved, because let’s face it…who knows what to believe on a website news article anymore. Final facts are almost always different from original reporting…


And this is why I like arguing with you and watching you argue. You do not give in to logical fallacies and poor arguments, but when a logical point is provided you accept it and do not try to keep arguing your point.