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Canadian Airline Boots Passenger for Being “Too Smelly to Fly”

canadian airline boots passenger too smelly to fly

What a stink – first Southwest boots Hollywood’s Kevin Smith for being “too fat to fly” (without purchasing a second seat, anyway) – and now, Canada’s CBC News reports that a man was ejected from an Air Canada Jazz flight for being “too smelly to fly.”

Details are sketchy, as they say – but the incident occurred sometime earlier this month, just before take-off at Charlottetown (Prince Edward Island) on a flight to Montreal.

We do know our friend with the bad odor was an American, and that he really exuded quite a stink because “efforts were made to isolate the man from other passengers” but apparently that wasn’t good enough – so, he got the boot.

The good news is the man apparently lost his stink overnight (or perhaps he took a shower), and was allowed to fly the next morning – which I suppose is the very definition of the “sweet smell of success”.

I wonder what flight attendants find more disagreeable – having to tell someone they’re too fat? Or too smelly?

18 Responses to “Canadian Airline Boots Passenger for Being “Too Smelly to Fly””

  1. William Beem says:

    OK, I’d rather sit next to someone who is too fat than too smelly. that smell may stick with you after you part company.

  2. Rick Seaney says:


    I hope I never have to choose!


  3. Christine L says:

    My question is, what do you do with a screaming 3-4 year-old when you’re 35,000 feet up and you’re on a full overnight flight from Hawaii to LAX – and mom just sits there doing nothing? I have kids and grandkids, so I’m not one of “those people.” What could the attendants have done to help, since clearly, mom was not going to do a darn thing but sit there.

    I suppose offering a pair of parachutes would have been inappropriate…

    I hope I never have to choose between too fat, too smelly or screaming – ever again!

  4. Melissa says:

    As someone with an oversensitive sense of smell, I applaud this move. It is really unpleasant being trapped with a stinky person in an enclosed space and often makes me start to feel physically ill after a while. You can definitely control your odor much more easily than your weight for flying, so I think all airlines should agree to bar super-smelly passengers.

  5. Sharon Shuppert says:

    As a flight attendant, I can tell you that obese and smelly passengers are more common than you might imagine. “Er, sir, could you please keep the aisles clear of all carry on bags. Oh, that’s your stomach!? So sorry.” And why do people insist on eating broccoli, cabbage, beans, etc. before or during a flight? (Yes, gas makes the plane go, but not that kind.) How do you offer someone relief? ” Coffee, tea, GasX?” For B.O., “Sir, would you like to use these nice coffee packets as a neck pillow? (pit pillow? tush tuck?…)” Sigh, what’s a stew to do?

  6. Rick Seaney says:


    I’m pretty sure most of them do bar “super-smelly” passengers (well, certainly in extreme cases); they just don’t advertise it.

    Thanks for your comments,

  7. Rick Seaney says:


    I know a flight attendant has a tough job, but I had no idea about all this other stuff. And I truly did think “smelly passengers” were rare. Thanks for opening my eyes (and nose?). All I can add is – hang in there.

    And thanks for writing,

  8. Rick Seaney says:


    I think it’s time for me to update some of my past columns on “screaming kids on a plane”.

    Thanks for the idea,

  9. Zapo says:

    Too much perfume or cologne is very bothersome, although BO and gas are quite sickening…I think I will travel with a bit of Vicks Vapo-rub for under the nose just in case, I am one of those weak stomach types…
    Definitely hate kids on planes, how come no move for a family zone? Like last 3 rows or somewhere…. I wish we could have individual isolation cones that descend over the seat on takeoff.

  10. Jason says:

    While we’re on the subject of people you don’t want to sit next to on the plane, we have the obese and the unshowered. Why has no one has mentioned people wearing too much perfume or cologne?

  11. Rick Seaney says:


    I love it – “individual isolation cones” – reminds me of the old “Cone of Silence” from the Get Smart TV show.


  12. Rick Seaney says:


    Actually, your fellow-commenter Zapo just did. And I know that perfume is a huge flash point for a lot of passengers.


  13. Kathryn Sheehy says:

    I actually had to sit eleven hours next to a very smelly German motorcyclist on his way to Hawaii. The flight from Orley to San Francisco was the longest I have ever endured. I have always thought that the airlines should have scheduled flights for people with kids. Let them all scream at each other. -yes, I have kids,but well behaved.

  14. Rick Seaney says:


    What’s worse – a smelly German motorcyclist or screaming kids?


  15. Stephanie says:

    For his sake, I hope he was transferring from an extremely long flight or had a very long layover and their just wasn’t any showering facilities along the way. I always think of my hygiene before a long day of travel, but I’ve been in situations where I’ve been traveling for 24 hours or more and all I can do is brush my teeth in the nearest bathroom and pray I get to a shower soon. If that’s the case, I feel bad for the guy. But if he went in intentionally smelly, that’s just rude.

  16. Kevin Johnston says:

    My partner was flying on Monday from Minneapolis to Sacramento. The little Chinese guy next to him pulled out a ziplock bag full of hard boiled brown eggs and proceeded to spend the next hour shoveling them down his throat. He would crack them on the tray table and peel them and eat, eat eat. Gross! He said the smell was something else! I inquired as to why he did not complain and asked to be moved immediately. I know I would have. rude, rude, rude

  17. Rick Seaney says:


    There is no indication as to whether this was a case of deliberate odorousity or spur-of-the-moment stink. However, from the sound of things, I do not believe this was a situation where a man had been doing hard traveling for 24 hours. 24 days, maybe.

    Glad you wrote,

  18. Rick Seaney says:


    Little brown eggs – that’s a new one on me. As for myself, I try to remain oblivious of my surroundings on a plane – noise-canceling headphones are good, but it never occurred to me there’d a demand for a smell-canceling device. Just hope you and I never need one…


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