Stats: 12 Percent Have Seen Someone Removed From Flight

As many as 12 percent of American travelers have seen somebody removed from a flight they were on, according to a new study by flight comparison website

“Intoxication,” an “overbooked flight” and “not co-operating with cabin crew” were the most common reasons fellow passengers were asked to depart an aircraft, according to the report. More than one third of Americans who have previously witnessed someone removed from a flight said it occurred due to an overbooked flight; with Americans stating they’d want at least $925 in compensation to give up their own seat on a flight if the same thing ever happened to them.

The team at undertook the research as part of an ongoing study into the flight experiences of Americans. 4,776 Americans aged 18 and over, all of whom stated that they’d travelled on an international or domestic flight at least once in the last twelve months, were quizzed about whether or not they’d ever witnessed anyone removed from a flight before their plane had left the runway.

All respondents were asked “Have you ever been removed from a flight?” to which just 2 percent of respondent stated that “yes” they had. When asked to elaborate on why, almost all were because the flight had been overbooked and they were chosen to be removed and financially compensated by the airline (87%).

Participants were then asked “Have you ever witnessed someone else being removed from a flight?” to which one in eight respondents (12%) stated that “yes” they had. Wanting to delve a little deeper, all those who had witnessed someone being removed from a flight was asked to state the reason given by cabin crew and airport security for their departure of the aircraft. When provided with a list of possible responses and told to select all that applied, the top five responses were as follows:

  1. The passenger was clearly intoxicated- 39%
  2. The flight was overbooked - 35%
  3. The passenger was not co-operating with cabin crew - 23%
  4. The passenger started an argument/fight with fellow travellers - 16%
  5. The passenger made others feel uncomfortable - 9%

Furthermore, of those who had seen someone removed from a flight, 1 percent stated that said person had been forcibly removed from the flight.

All respondents were then asked how much it would take in compensation for them to happily give up their seat due to a flight being overbooked, with the average amount revealed as $925. 82 percent also stated that they’d expect to be put up in an all-expenses paid hotel if their next flight was not until the next day.

“It’s pretty common practice for airlines to overbook their flights, assuming not all passengers are going to turn up for the flight or arrive on time,” said a spokesperson for in a written release. “Unfortunately, when everyone does turn up and a flight is then overbooked, passengers are politely asked if they will give up their seat for monetary compensation and a later flight. If no one volunteers then passengers are selected. We haven’t seen the best examples recently of this situation being handled well, but it is common practice.

“Alongside this, we were shocked to see just how many people are removed from flights for being drunk and disorderly. We understand having a drink or two to calm your nerves, or to get into vacation mode, but losing control and getting that drunk will never end well and could ruin your entire trip.”


Related Stories

Stats: Summer Travel Spend Growing 2 Percent Faster Than Predicted    

Stats: 65 Percent of Travelers Worried About Self-Driving Cars    

Stats: 44.2 Million People Expected to Travel for Independence Day Weekend

Stats: CheapOair Reveals Top 10 Domestic Getaways for the Fourth of July