11 Reasons You Could Be Denied Boarding a Flight

Last updated on December 14th, 2022 at 09:20 am


Do you know that you could be denied boarding a flight for some certain reasons? YES.

One of the major reasons they give when this happens is: “For the safety of other passengers.”

If you don’t know, read through this post to get to know some circumstances that could an airline operator to deny you boarding a plane even after you must have bought a ticket.

Precious Mesah denied boarding flight because of her size
Plus-sized Ghanian Precious Mesah. Photo credit: Twitter

The recent controversial decision taken by the Emirates Airline by denying a plus-sized Ghanaian lady Precious Mesah to board a plane to Dubai comes to mind when putting this post together.

So, what exactly could force an airline to deny a passenger from boarding a flight?

11 reasons you could be denied boarding a flight


You could be denied boarding a flight if you’re overweight. This happened to Precious Mesah in Ghana recently as she was denied flight because of her size.

In a statement issued by the management of Emirates, the organisers of Di Asa should have purchased extra seats for Precious Mensah in order to ensure that all passengers are safely and comfortably seated with their seatbelts fastened.

According to safety rules mean passengers have to fasten their seatbelts before take-off and landing, “but if a passenger is obese and the belt doesn’t fit, this could be a problem – in addition to the fact their size may impact on the space passengers seated next to them have,”  insidetravel.news says in one its posts.

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If your body language and countenance are suspicious, you may be delayed and handed over to security for a thorough screening.

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab popularly known as “Underwear Bomber” who attempted to bomb an airline which has 289 people, was detected aboard as he made suspicious moves on Christmas Day December 25,  2009 on board.


Imagine an ebola patient or someone with scary rashes on his face trying to board a flight?

So, the flight crew can also deny you access to the plane if they have enough reason to believe you’re sick or carrying a disease that is highly contagious which could the health of other passengers at risk.

One of the ways to reduce the possibility of your rejection is to carry a letter from a medical doctor.

Body odour

You may not be allowed to board a flight if you have a terribly stinking body odour. Carry you body spray if it can solve your problem.

Carrying ashes

You have a cremated relative to fly with? You may have to present a copy of the death and cremation certificates, “and the ashes must be securely packed in an appropriate container to avoid any spillages,” says Inside Travel.

Aside this you should inquire about the policies of your carrier regarding carrying ashes on flight.

Dress code

You may be turned down from boarding a flight if your dress looks more insane. Though there is no acceptable dress code to board a flight, however, how would you feel when a see a potential female passenger barely naked with just a bra.

It is also advisable to “avoid items that could be deemed offensive such as clothes with slogans featuring swear words, and check the local customs at your destination in case they have rules on clothing.”

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For instance, it’s advisable to abide, temporarily, by the Islamic dress code when visiting Saudi Arabia or any other Islamic country. Avoid showing cleavages in such countries.

Drunken passenger

Having enough fun, taking some alcohol pre-flight might be cool, but be aware that the cabin crew reserve the right to stop you from boarding, especially if they think you will be disruptive.

Your past may hunt you

Something you said before could nail you. Your past utterances may hinder your present. For instance, former Princeton University Professor, Walter Murphy, told The Guardian that in 2007, he was denied a boarding pass in Newark International Airport.

Trying to figure out why he was denied to board the flight, he suspects it was because of a high-profile lecture he gave that had been critical of then-President Bush.

Overbooked flight

When a flight is overbooked, the management may have no option but to turn down some travellers.

This usually happen during the festive period or when there is a crucial event holding in a country E.G FIFA World Cup.

If you arrived at the counter after check-in was closed, you wouldn’t be told the flight was overbooked, and you will be denied based on the fact that you arrived late.

If the airline fails to compensate you, you can seek the advice of a lawyer on possible legal action in a country where the law is respected.

Travel documents

The travel document is very important. An incomplete travel document is one of the main reasons you may not be allowed to board a flight.

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So, make sure all of your travel documents are up to date. For instance, if you’re travelling somewhere which requires specific injections, bring proof with you that you have had it,

In a situation whereby your documents aren’t in order, the airline reserves the right to deny you from boarding, and you won’t be entitled to any compensation, says an Online Travel Writer Julie Delahaye of Mirror

Wanted terrorist

A wanted terrorist can be delayed while management call in security to order an arrest of a serious wanted man.

This isn’t limited to only to terrorism, a traveller who has committed human rights violations in his country or elsewhere may also be declared wanted on put on an international watchlist.

In this case, arrest if made without compensation, unless he’s arrested in error.

Similar name to someone on a no-fly list

You may be denied boarding a flight if you have a similar name to someone on no-fly list. “In 2007, 60 Minutes famously brought together a group of people named Robert Johnson who experienced problems flying, likely because a man also named Robert Johnson had been convicted of  plotting to bomb a Hindu temple and a movie theatre in Toronto,” writes mentalfloss.com

The above reasons you could be denied boarding a flight could even be more, depending on the circumstances at hand.

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