Airline plane rules that could get you in trouble

Twin sisters Lisa and Jessica Origliasso's public stoush with Qantas appears to have been sparked by a cabin crew member's refusal to help with their cabin baggage.

And while many people have sided with the pop duo, the fiasco - which led to the pair being kicked off their Sydney to Brisbane flight - has revealed how few of us realise that crew member was well within their rights to do so.

It's one of a number of little-known travel rules people tend to break without realising.


It is understood The Veronicas' fight with Qantas started when a flight attendant refused to help 151cm-tall Lisa Origliasso move her bag in the overhead locker when she was asked.

According to their version of events posted on Instagram, Lisa and her sister Jessica asked for the flight attendant's name "after they approached us seemingly without reason to reiterate a company policy that prohibits them from helping to assist us with the rearrangement of baggage at their request".


The Veronicas are removed from the Qantas flight before takeoff from Sydney Airport.
The Veronicas are removed from the Qantas flight before takeoff from Sydney Airport.

"Since the incident, we have found out there is no such policy in place that prohibits cabin crew with the assistance of baggage," the duo added.

However, Qantas does have a policy that allows cabin crew to refuse requests for help with carry-on baggage.

It came into effect in March - along with new carry-on weight limits - amid concerns from the Flight Attendants Association of Australia about injuries to crew as a result of dealing with passengers' increasingly heavy bags.

Qantas is one of many airlines worldwide that require passengers to be responsible for moving and lifting their own bags. If the passenger can't do it, the bag will be stowed elsewhere.

"Asking for helping from the flight attendants is a natural reaction when struggling with your

bags. Unbeknown to many, some airlines have strict rules and guidelines that prevent flight

attendants from helping or even touching passenger baggage," Skyscanner travel expert Emily Cairns said.

"This is to ensure the safety of the flight attendants with repeated heavy lifting and the

injuries that it causes."

Virgin Australia crew will help passengers with their carry-on - as long as it does not exceed the airline's 7kg weight limit.


You can't just switch seats without asking.
You can't just switch seats without asking.

There are other rules, unrelated to the Veronicas/Qantas incident, that tend to catch travellers out.

Such as, if you're eyeing off an empty window seat or entire row that's better than your seat and going to waste - even in economy - hold up. That seat number printed alongside your name on the boarding pass is there for a reason.

"Flight attendants require you to sit in your allocated seats unless otherwise instructed,"

Ms Cairns said.

"It's why they check your ticket at both the gate and the front of the aircraft as it's a safety

issue and you won't win any points with your flight attendant if you move without their say-


"It's best you pre-book a seat you're happy with prior to your flight if you can. If there is

another tempting offer as you board, simply ask the crew just before or after takeoff if you

can move rather than taking the liberty yourself."



American Airlines has kicked passengers off planes for smelling bad. Picture: AP/Wilfredo Lee
American Airlines has kicked passengers off planes for smelling bad. Picture: AP/Wilfredo Lee


It's an awkward rule, but many airlines have a clause written into their conditions of carriage that passengers with bad body odour can be banned from boarding the aircraft.

American Airlines, one of the major carriers in the United States, reserves the right to refuse to transport a passenger, or have them removed from their flight at any point, if they "have an offensive odour not caused by a disability or illness".

A number of other (mostly American) airlines have the same rule, including Delta Air Lines, JetBlue, Spirit Airlines, Alaska Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines, plus Puerto Rico's Seaborne Airlines.

And don't think they won't enforce it. In January, a couple travelling with their 19-month-old daughter claimed they were booted from their American Airlines flight after passengers complained about their body odour.

American Airlines removed a French man from a 2014 flight from Paris to Dallas after several passengers complained about his stench, and in 2010, Air Canada removed a man for emitting what fellow passengers described as a "brutal" smell.

Some Asia-based airlines including Bangkok Airways and Air Asia will ban passengers from carrying notoriously foul-smelling fruit, such as the infamous durian, on-board. Spanish airline Vueling will refuse to carry your pet if it has an "unpleasant smell".

Qantas and Jetstar don't specifically mention body odour in their conditions of carriage, but Virgin Australia says it can refuse carriage of baggage "because of any odour it emits".



Know the limit.
Know the limit.

You may be aware - or, at least, we hope you're aware - you have to declare foreign currency if you're travelling in and out of Australia with more than $10,000.

But different countries have different rules about the amount of money you can enter and leave with, which can make things trickier.

Travel Money Oz general manager Scott McCullough said travellers should check the legal requirements for the country they're departing as well as the country they're travelling to.

"It may not affect the regular holiday traveller, but you'd be surprised by the amount of people who have been caught out in regular situations," Mr McCullough said.

"Often people travelling home or to visit family, for whatever reason, can get caught out with extra cash, cheques or documents that can trip them up at customs."

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