View Full Version : Kicked off flight for (not) being drunk

4th Jun 2018, 23:07
Apologies if this is the wrong section. My brother was removed from a FlyBe flight recently, a member of the cabin crew decided he was unfit to fly. He said that he was slurring, and appeared drunk. He was removed from the aircraft at Alicante and forced to but a new ticket on a different airline to a different UK city in the early hours and then get a train home the next day.

I was with him all day and can 100% guarantee that he wasn't drunk. I was with him all day, and had driven him to the airport. He'd had two beers all day. We arrived at the airport late, meaning he didn't have time to have a drink before boarding the flight. He dresses quite unorthodox, his hair is straggly, he has an unruly beard and tends to wear big hats and long coats. At first glance you'd think he was a singer in a hardcore metal band. He does drink but in this case he was very sober, he doesn't like to drink before flghts.

I wrote to FlyBe and they said that they kicked him off because he "appeared to be drunk". Given the number of normal looking people who travel in and out of Benidorm after consuming alcohol and are allowed to fly, I can only conclude that it was his appearance that got him kicked off.

So does he have any rights? Or should he just accept the decision?

Load Toad
5th Jun 2018, 02:58
Well, let's start with - why did they think he was drunk? Apart from clothing, he must have done something to draw attention to himself. Cabin crew don't want to throw people off flights - its hassle.

5th Jun 2018, 07:20
This is from the mail I received. He had issues retracting the handle of his case, but as I mentioned I know for a fact he wasn't drunk. He does suffer from a few medical conditions though.

"As an airline our staff see a very wide variety of people and as such are used to meeting and dealing with passengers from all walks of life. This is partly why our crew enjoy their jobs so much. We have now received a report from the crew and pilot. As I was not there at the time, I can only advise you of the content of this report. The report states that XXXX was the last to board and while doing so he did stumble and fell towards the air bridge operator. Once onboard have stated they could detect a strong smell of alcohol from your brother.There were concerns raised by other passengers on this flight, especially as your brother was struggling to keep his balance while walking to his seat. At this stage our crew did approach the Captain, who agreed that the passenger should be removed".

5th Jun 2018, 08:33
A friend of mine was in a very bad car accident many years ago. It affected his skull and brain, eyesight, hearing and speech. He tends to stand very close to your face and speaks in a slurred way; people who do not know him assume immediately that he is drunk.

5th Jun 2018, 14:18
I have never been in this circumstance but, based on many interactions with, and working for, corporates - this is the end of the story. Given that the circumstances cannot be recreated or tested, they are NEVER going to rescind the decision. If you are able to get a medical certificate documenting his condition then you might get somewhere.

Sorry not to be positive but given how rapidly ANY inflight disruption is now publicised on social media - all carriers ere on the safe side. Carrying medical documentation with him may be a safe precaution - even when on trains.

Piltdown Man
6th Jun 2018, 15:42
There are many people who travel with symptoms that may mimic the effects of being intoxicated. People so affected often carry documentation that explains their behaviour. Not doing so makes them vulnerable to being denied boarding. But in this case, it appears that these crew members may have misunderstood the person standing in front of them. But if you present yourself as if you have been dragged through a hedge backwards, are last on board, fall over, have luggage problems etc. you are ‘pinging’ their radar. In 20 years I have denied boarding to only a dozen or so people. I can even remember the names of some of these people. And it’s also very rare for normal people to ping cabin crew’s radar. Typically they will meet in excess of 100,000 people a year and deny boarding to nobody. And accepting that denying boarding is a complete pain in the arse, what else happened?


6th Jun 2018, 19:41
Diabetics can suffer from ketoacidosis, which can mimic the symptoms of being drunk (fruity odor on breath, slurring of speech). If you don't know that your brother is diabetic, you should see that he gets tested.

Mark in CA
7th Jun 2018, 04:59
Thanks to the OP for posting this thread. I have a friend who suffered a serious stroke years ago (is rather well now) but still suffers from some balance issues and slurred speech. I know they have traveled on planes before without issue, but the idea of having some documentation with you about your condition when traveling is a great idea.

7th Jun 2018, 07:51
If someone is in ketoacidosis then one could argue that offloading is appropriate and that a sealed tin can six miles up isn't the best place for them.

I can see where this is going. In ten years time we won't be able to offload anyone as they may be suffering from condition X, Y or Z. Smelly breath can be ketosis, ketoacidosis, halitosis and slurred speech can be anything from a stroke, cognitive impairment etc etc and nobody will be offloaded at all for fear of being branded discriminatory and making the Daily Mail.

In reality removing someone is usually a last resort. It's never just smelly breath. It's never just slurred speech. It's combination of those indicators together with inappropriate behaviour. Whatever the cause of the behaviour then offloading is appropriate whatever has caused said behaviour to manifest itself as again it's not appropriate on a plane and one person should never be allowed to spoil or threaten the other hundreds of lives regardless of how unfortunate you are.