The New, Metaphysical Reason You Might Be Banned From Flying, According to American Airlines

American Airlines has updated its Contract of Carriage, the adhesion contract you agree to when buying a ticket, to detail new reasons you might be banned from flying the airline based on your behavior.

One of these new reasons is downright metaphysical.

You can now be banned from flying American Airlines if you “show the potential to be while on board” (emphasis mine).

Whether phrased as Cogito, ergo sum (Latin) or “Je pense, donc je suis” (French) you might think therefore you are. This thinking, then, is the sine qua non of your being. Sensient humans are at risk of banning by the airline.

Or, you know, maybe eliminating 30% of management staff took with it some of the better contract lawyers in Skyview.

To be sure I may make typos in blog posts. This site is only me, no staff, period – and it isn’t so easy for me to ban you from the internet for being…

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. “Appear intoxicated or under the influence of drugs”

    What does that mean? Ambien? Adderall? Medical marijuana?

  2. So now flight crews are doctors as well. If they “suspect you have a communicable disease”?

    Another reason I will never fly AA.

  3. Social credit system coming to a corporation near you. Gonna love seeing the authoritarian dems defend giant corporations when they do this.
    Dems- “break up big business! (Unless they are woke and kick out potentially dangerous republicans)”

  4. It’s like the scene from Meet the Parents when Ben Stiller jokes about saying the word bomb on a plane and everyone freaks out. Except now replace the word bomb with trump or freedom and watch the airlines freak out.

  5. Gary, you are burying the lede. The contract of carriage says “We may not let you fly (temporarily or permanently) for any reason…”

    How is that even a contract if one side can choose not to honor it for any reason they wish?

  6. @Don – that’s a little disingenuous. I can talk about Trump or freedom to my seat mate or my wife behind me, but if I raise my voice about freedom or belligerently talk about Trump being the real president, I’m clearly at higher risk of causing an inflight disturbance. Sadly the two are highly correlated at the moment (the content and the tone of the speech) but they don’t have to be.

    A guy standing up and yelling at the flight attendant to get vaccinated because Biden said so is going to be treated the same.

  7. American is clearly trying to cast as wide of a net to refuse service or to refuse to provide service even when someone is onboard even after accepting more government aid than any other airline. They clearly feel emboldened.

  8. Seems as if AA is writing their own obituary . Murphy’s Law at work to the extreme.
    I too am done with AA. And I’ve got over a million miles with them

  9. That happens all the time online, particularly in Wikipedia. Even Flyertalk suspends people on a whim or even for following the rules.

  10. @Jerry’s comments sound crazy but some states are starting to link vaccination confirmation to credit reports. Illinois is doing this already if you sign up for their digital vaccine system which many places may require in the future.

    I just hope AA doesn’t kick me off my next flight because I take Lipitor 🙂

  11. Wasn’t there a story here a few days ago about the ticket agent who helped the 9/11 hijackers get on board, yet he had a gut instinct something was off about them. That’s where “show the potential to be” comes into play.

    There are often times, I’m sure, that various airline agents have a gut instinct about someone who’s barely holding it together, hasn’t done anything wrong yet, and they then go on to disrupt a flight. All this does is give the airline an out to take a person aside and investigate further. I believe it’s in security expert Gavin DeBecker’s “The Gift Of Fear” that he talks about how we have the ability to spot patterns that are threatening to us long before our conscious mind spots it – in fact, it’s our conscious mind that often talks us out of acting on that instinct. Do it too much and they’ll be in trouble, but it’s a legal out that a private business has. Government doesn’t. The two are different.

  12. Act like an adolescent jerk on the ground and it’s pretty much guaranteed that you’ll be even worse while up in the air. Same thing happened on my JetBlue flight this week, much to everyone’s delight (and slight annoyance at one person causing a delay in takeoff.)

  13. @C_M “The Gift of Fear” was a book that was given to me when I was a new EMT. Thousands of emergency calls later…. and being in my fourth decade and covering an International airport for EMS…. most gate agents have zero situational awareness imo because they don’t have the time. Flight attendants are busy doing other things to notice subtleties.

  14. Good thing I don’t need to take Viagra, don’t want to be kicked off the flight for being under the influence of drugs.

  15. I really hope that the airlines don’t wonder why the public doesn’t want to bail them out or even roots for their failure. This is just another data point in the us vs them mentality.

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