6 ways to get blacklisted from flying


It is relatively easily to be placed on a no-fly list, but very hard to get off one. Source: Ernanete Carolino / Unsplash.

IMAGINE getting to the airport and being told you can’t fly because your name is on a blacklist.

This is the reality for many including Malaysia’s ex-prime minister, Najib Razak.

Razak is currently tumbling down a slippery slope into a pool of consequences for his secretive actions over the past nine years in power.

One consequence he’s already faced is being banned from leaving the country.

Razak and his wife, Rosmah Mansor, are facing investigations for the disappearance of nearly US$700 million from the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) fund, among other allegations.

While under investigation, Malaysia’s new prime minister 92-year-old Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad placed Razak, Mansor and some of their associates on a no-fly list.

But you don’t have to be a world leader or a billion dollar thief to be banned from flying.

There are plenty of reasons your name could end up being blacklisted from entering and exiting a certain country.

In the US, the federal no-fly list is one of the most controversial documents in the country.

It is relatively simple to get on and extremely difficult to get off.

It is almost impossible to find out whether you’re on it until you’re denied boarding at the airport. Then comes the ordeal of finding out why you’re on it.

In a sense, the secrecy surrounding the list ensures no dangerous people can be tipped off before they make a journey.

However, for those who are innocent, traveling is made extremely difficult.

Here are six ways to ensure you never fly again.

Controversial tweets

You may think you’re just an average Joe going about your daily business, but even an aggressive tweet can get you on the list.

You won’t be banned from flying for declaring you prefer Britney Spears’ version of I Love Rock’N’ Roll over Joan Jett’s original.

Even criticizing an airline won’t get you banned. After all, you’re entitled to complain.

That’s not the type of controversy that will see you get marched off a plane though.

If any of your tweets reference terrorism, you can bet your bottom dollar it will be flagged.

If there’s a theme within your tweets relating to terrorism, you’re probably on a no-fly list somewhere.

If you’re a fugitive

This one is self-explanatory because if you’re running from the law, you’re already in trouble.

Authorities have the right to put people on the no-fly list even if they’re not a threat to aviation security. Just simply a threat to anyone

If you’re running from the police but trying to board a plane, it is essentially as good as turning yourself in at a police station.

Sharing a blacklisted flyer’s name

If you are one of the unlucky few who shares a name with someone on the no-fly list, chances are you’ll probably be pulled aside at the airport.

Even if it sounds the same as someone who is on the list, you could be denied boarding.

You can contest this, but it may take time and you’re likely to miss your flight.

Going places you shouldn’t

If you have evidence you’ve traveled to countries embroiled in war or financial crimes, you name might be on the no-fly list.

For example, 16 countries don’t accept Israeli passports, but a further eight countries, including Iran, Lebanon, and Yemen, don’t allow people who have visited Israel to enter through their borders.

Travelers can circumnavigate this struggle by requesting two passports but it’s best to be vigilant of what gets stamped where.

Rioting in airports

Apart from government watch lists, individual airlines can also dish out bans to badly behaved flyers.

As rapper and global superstar Snoop Dogg found out in 2005, starting a riot in an airport will not do you any favors.

Snoop Dogg and his entourage burst into British Airways’ VIP lounge in Heathrow’s Terminal uninvited and were kicked out when staff asked them to leave.

Cue a lifetime ban from British Airways.

Keep your privates to yourself

Revealing your privates to anyone in a public place could land you in serious trouble, especially on an aircraft.

As was the case for Tom Washington who exposed himself on a Jet2.com flight from East Midlands in the UK to Majora, a Spanish island.

Washington and 22 of his male friends boarded the flight dressed as female cabin crew which most on board took in good spirit.

However, when Washington proceeded to expose his groin area tattoo, the cabin went a little sour.

To passengers’ surprise, the tattoo was an image of Disney character Pinocchio. Only, the tattoo artist has left the wooden boy’s noteworthy nose down to interpretation.