7 of the most bizarre, mind-boggling airline rules out there

Some perplexing airline rules and restrictions are worth knowing about as they could avoid inconveniences and delays. Source: Shutterstock.

NEVERMIND the fiasco over emotional support animals and the controversial electronics ban. Thai Airways (THAI) has just taken airline restrictions to a whole new level.

Those planning to fly business class aboard the airline’s new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft would first need to pass a “waist test”, according to Thai portal The Nation in a report last week.

THAI director of security and flight standard division Flight Lieutenant Pratthana Pattanasirim, a passenger with a waistline exceeding 56 inches won’t be allowed to fly business class.

This is not because THAI is fat-shaming its premium-paying plus-sized passengers.

Pattanasirim explained that the business class seats have been installed with new safety belts and airbag system by the manufacturer in accordance with the safety standards of the US Federal Aviation Administration. The new safety belt system cannot accommodate a passenger whose waist is larger than 56 inches (142cm), or a parent with a child sitting on his/her lap.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

The safety belt and airbag system has airbags located in the safety belts, designed to lessen the impact of crashes with minor injuries.  The safety belts can’t be extended (like a parent would for a lap-held baby) as that would push the airbag to the side, defeating its purpose.

And THAI is not the only airline to have had them installed in their business class seats.

British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Emirates, Virgin Atlantic Airways, Singapore Airlines, and Delta Air Lines have also had the system installed, although they have not made any announcement on similar restrictions.

Safety belt and airbag system aside, travelers would be surprised to know that while most airline regulations and policies are put in place for good reason, there are some perplexing airline rules and restrictions out there.

Bizarre though they may seem to many of us, they’re still worth knowing as it could help you avoid inconveniences and delays:

Hawaiian Airlines

In response to an increase in average passenger weight, Hawaiian Airlines has been routinely preventing those flying to or from Pago Pago (the capital of American Samoa) from choosing their own seats online.

The airline has even required them to step on the scales before boarding.

Source: Shutterstock,

Hawaiian Airlines reportedly told Radio New Zealand that the expanding girth of the typical passenger means it is required to redistribute weight in its Boeing 767 cabins to meet the manufacturer’s guidelines. This means limiting the number of adults per row and reserving seats in certain rows for young children.

Qantas Airways

Different airlines have different sickness policies.

While a person could get on an Air New Zealand flight within four days of a tonsillectomy (tonsil removal surgical procedure), Qantas will not allow a newly tonsil-less passenger to fly with them for three weeks.

Source: giphy.com.

Qantas will also refuse to board a passenger the day after a breast augmentation or reduction.


For perfectly logical reasons, nearly every airline advises against checking in valuables (e.g., money, jewelry) just so that it minimizes the risk of loss and the airline needing to say, “We told you so!”

But American low-cost carrier JetBlue has taken it one step further.

Source: Shutterstock.

Like most airlines, JetBlue doesn’t allow jewelry to be checked in, but also fur, paintings, CDs, sunglasses, dolls, maps, mirrors, musical instruments, and even make-up.

American Airlines

Nobody likes a stinky seatmate, that we can all agree. And some airlines will ensure that passengers with bad body odor are kicked off.

Not mid-air, of course.

Source: giphy.com

As the world’s largest airline by fleet size, revenue, scheduled passenger-kilometers flown, and the number of destinations served, American Airlines has a “bad smell” rule.

The carrier has the right to refuse a passenger on a flight or pull him/her off a flight if the individual has what is deemed “an offensive odor not caused by a disability or illness“.

British Airways

Have you ever wondered what airlines do in the event of a passenger death?

A lead trainer at British Airways revealed in A Very British Airline – British Airways Behind The Scenes, a documentary about the airline, “You cannot put a dead passenger in the toilet. It’s not respectful and (the corpse) is not strapped in for landing. If they slid off the toilet, they would end up on the floor.”

Source: Shutterstock.

Instead of putting the dead body in the toilet, if there’s space in first class, they will be placed there and nearby passengers informed.

Hainan Airlines

For the longest time, mainland China airlines have imposed a complete ban on using mobile phones on flights.

Fortunately, China has finally delivered on its promise to end the ban.

Source: Giphy

Hainan Airlines took the lead in lifting the ban two months ago after China’s civil aviation authority said it would leave it up to airlines to make the call.

Hainan Airlines’ subsidiary carrier Lucky Air also followed suit, and passengers can now use their mobile phones on flights so long as their phones have been set to airplane mode.

Korean Air

In 2016, Right Here Waiting crooner Richard Marx helped subdue an unruly passenger on board Korean Air when the cabin crew couldn’t, an incident that went viral and turned things around for the airline.

As a result, Korean Air loosened its restrictions on their cabin crew’s use of stun guns, allowing them to use tasers to manage violent passengers.

Korean Air also reserves the right to ban any passengers with a history of unruly behavior.