Member since 21 Apr 2012
Total posts 2,058
Your rights for voluntary disembarkation of a plane
In light of the ban by Qantas on the gentleman who asked to be removed from a flight transporting an asylum seeker (refer to the story in the Fairfax papers);
What are your rights to disembark an aircraft before it takes off? Is there any legislation that governs that right?
If the airline refuses to allow you to disembark while the aircraft is still on the ground and the doors have not closed, is the airline liable for charges of unlawful detention?
Are there any clauses in the Terms & Conditions of your ticket, which forfeits any of your rights discussed above?
I'm never one to voluntarily disembark a plane but I'm curious as to the operational and legislative framework on this matter. Any information would be most helpful.
Member since 21 Dec 2012
Total posts 43
TRB, I was thinking of this incident in a different way. I dont agree with the actions of the gentlemen the newspaper article focused on, but I was more interested in the protesters who have been intentionally booking seats and disrupting the flights carrying passengers for being positioned for deportation. Will if/when convicted they face costs payments to Qantas for the recovery of the cost of the disruption, and if so, how large are the sums likely to be.
My other thought was a ban by QF was probably pretty light compared to the treatment they would receive in the US in similar circumstances!
Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer
Member since 28 Sep 2011
Total posts 302
I don't know about the law but I'd be surprised if a passenger were not at liberty to leave the aircraft before the door closed (don't we see that a lot in the movies, even from the U.S.)? I am absolutely disgusted at the Qantas response to this - how dare anyone have a political view at odds with that of the company? I'd guess that any T&C about banning you would be subject to and fettered by anti-discrimination law. I'd certainly hope so. Time the airline was shown up for what it so clearly is - a tragic for totalitarianism.
Member since 12 Jun 2013
Total posts 216
>how dare anyone have a political view at odds with that of the company?
It's not about having political views, it's about creating a disruption which potentially delays hundreds of people and costs tens of thousands of dollars for the sake of your own petty self-indulgence.
You can have whatever political views you like, just don't be a prick to everyone around you.
I should add that we've only heard one dude's side of the story so far. We have no idea abuot certain things such as (a) whether he was abusive to staff or passengers, (b) whether the plane door had closed, (c) et cetera.
We used to call it freedom of "expression". Did I miss a change to that?
I agree. My gut reaction is "Who the hell does Qantas think they are?". Sounds a bit like the Spanish Inquisition. But I can also see Hugo's point.
The question however is bigger than the reasons for voluntary disembarkation. Do people know their rights when entering an aircraft? We are at the mercy of cabin and tech crew when in the aircraft. Are there adequate and appropriate controls and frameworks to ensure they do not behave like Nazis?
Whatever your political inclinations are, it seems a poor business decision to accept for carriage high risk passengers such as boat-arrival illegal economic migrants, in so far as your corporate image is tainted in the process. It damages your brand to be seen to be complicit.
TRB, I certainly agree.
Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards
Member since 06 Dec 2012
Total posts 155
TRB - I read an article not so long ago that referenced when a plane gets diverted to another aiport - e.g. United flight to canberra in Dec 2014 - that if it is for longer than 2 hours then water and food has to be provided and if it is longer than 6 hours then passanger have a right to disembark the plane. As i understand it like in the Canberra scenario, if there is no customs/immigration, they still have to allow the passengers to physically get off the plane if they want. With this in mind, maybe there is something in the T&C's which waives some of your rights in terms of time frames anyway. Maybe if you get on a plane, the only way you will get of prematurely is by doing something to get kicked off! Maybe getting up and trying to get off will result in you getting off, but not in the free and easy manner you expected! I would hate to be stuck on the tarmac for 6 hours I can tell you that!!!!
But in terms of a domestic flight it would be interesting too! In terms of the airline providing a service...like any company/retailer that offers goods and service, those goods and services are required to be "fit for pupose".
In terms of airline transportation how does this work? I understand techincal difficulties and weather can cause problems in the aviation industry and it is often out of their hands, but if I pay $200 to get from A to B, what sort of time frame is "Fit for Purpose"? If it is a 45minute flight and the plan taxis out onto the runway and is still there 2 hours later, can I politely ask to get off? As you say TRB how long can the airline legally "detain" me. As a consumer, in that instance I am not getting what I paid for...the product is not "fit for purpose"
SaltyJ, I think you mean what happens after the dorr closes. A plane is then "in flight" and subject to the laws that apply to that time. Before the door closes it's more a question of cancelling yourseld out by disembarking, I think anyway.
Even when "in flight" I seriously doubt anyone can be in trouble for expressing a view even if they cannot lawfully demonstrate with action.
Hey Wilsoni...I understand that if the door is closed than the plane is "in flight"..but in reference to TRB's mention of being detained in light of being on board a plane for way longer than seems reasonable, what is the situation then. If I have a flight at 8am, so I leave home at 6:30am, the flight should be 50 minutes and I get off at the other end, that's basically 3 hours total. If i am sitting on a plane for 5 hours (very rare that it happens, but I am sure it does) with the door shut so am "in flight" so cannot disembark, but if the plane returns to the air bridge for example and people get off and then an hour and half later everyone reboards and the plane taxis off again and sits on the tarmac/taxiway for another 3 hours but the door is shut obviously so you are "in flight" I'm sure some people would want to get off, but the law might say something different. I understand that you are "in flight" but you aren't really..the plane is already 10 hours delayed, it's not like you would be holding anyone up really if you demanded to get off!
Hi SaltyJ, my guess is if it's at the gate you can just get off but probably won't be let back on and will be taken to have cancelled. Different maybe if an international and they are right not to release you unless Immigration and Customs say OK.
Member since 16 Jun 2011
Total posts 230
Plenty of people deboard for a whole variety of reasons. You know, things like the right size pyjamas not being available. But they don;t normally end up being involved in an AFP inverstigation.
LOL. Maybe when the cashew nuts aren't warm.
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Your rights for voluntary disembarkation of a plane
In light of the ban by Qantas on the gentleman who asked to be removed from a flight transporting an asylum seeker (refer to
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