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Airplanes Are Now Giving Out “Yellow Cards”—Here’s What That Means

Reader's Digest logo Reader's Digest 14-07-2017 Morgan Cutolo

© Shutterstock Airlines have started to become a little bit more like the competitive sport of soccer. When a player acts with aggression the referee flashes a yellow card as a warning. On some airlines, flight attendants are now giving passengers who act up the same kind of treatment.

British Airways started this penalty system back in 1998. If a customer was being difficult towards one of their staff members they would issue a ‘yellow card.’ In 2002, they started issuing the yellow card, not only in the air, but also for any passenger with ‘ground rage.’ To avoid getting a yellow card, these are things you should never be doing on an airplane. Other airlines, such as JetBlue, have started this same penalty system.

The yellow card, similar to soccer, is purely a warning. It means that you have been rude to the airline’s staff and are causing a problem that disrupts the process of flying and other customers. Once a yellow card is issued, the police will be called and the airline can ban that customer from flying with them if the bad behavior continues.

Make sure you know your rights as a passenger before you board your flight. It’s very easy to get worked up when you’ve been stuck in an airport all day just trying to get home, and you don’t want the airline giving you the short end of the stick for no reason.

Even though your fellow passengers on a flight might not be as sweaty as the opposing teams players in a game of soccer (well sometimes they are…gross!) the game of flying is played the same way as the game of kicking a ball into a net. Make sure you always follow these etiquette rules when flying.

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