Stinky passengers

Two stinky passengers were recently thrown off a flight – as reported by Outside Magazine –

October 15, two Appalachian Trail thru-hikers were escorted off a Frontier Airlines flight at Boston’s Logan airport. The duo (who asked not to be named) had just completed their northbound hike and said they stopped to shower and change into clean clothes before arriving at the airport. Nevertheless, shortly after boarding, they were approached by crew members, who said they would not be allowed to fly because at least one of them had what was deemed to be offensive body odor. The hikers were walked off the plane, provided with travel-size toiletry bags, and told they could try to fly again the next day.

Back in the terminal, the hikers posted a tongue-in-cheek photo on a Facebook page for hikers. “First taste of the real world,” they wrote. “Now we’re in Boston with no way to get home.”

This elicited all kinds of responses from fellow backpackers, ranging from outrage (“Total bullshit! They should have let you fly!”) to empathy for the other passengers (“I wouldn’t even let my husband ride home in my car after he finished his hike!”). And it included, perhaps not surprisingly, all kinds of advice, ranging from the obvious (“Did you try deodorant?”) to the downright dangerous (“Douse yourself in Febreze and rub hand sanitizer in your armpits!”). 

Outside contacted both hikers, along with Frontier. The two backpackers and the airline both said there had been some extenuating circumstances that hadn’t been made clear in the viral Facebook post—namely, that the hikers were flying on buddy passes (standby tickets provided to airline employees), because one of the hiker’s relatives works for the company. A Frontier spokesperson explained that passengers flying on these nonrevenue-generating tickets are held to a higher standard for personal hygiene. But, like most airlines, Frontier also has a general policy concerning such matters.

So what are the “rules” about personal hygiene when you fly – well there are in fact written rules. American Airlines – “be respectful that your odor isn’t offensive (unless it’s caused by a disability or illness).” Delta Airlines says you can be removed from the flight if your “hygiene or odor creates an unreasonable risk of offense or annoyance to other passengers.” 

Even bus companies and train operators like Amtrak have similar policies.

So freshen up – but not too much! Remember there is a big movement out there against scent and cologne – so just soap and water please 🙂

By Lesley Keyter

Lesley Keyter is the face of travel in the fast growing city of Calgary. Every week since 1997 she has has featured live on the Morning News Global TV.


  1. Dear Leslie,
    Even though there is a mounting complaint and backlash about colognes and perfumes, I do wear cologne (Givenchy’s Pi & Givenchy’s Extreme) and always will.
    because I have an extremely sensitive nose and any bad & stinky smells sends me sneezing and crying (I tear up big time)…
    I wear these on the Calgary Transit System daily as there are many stinky unwashed people travelling onboard.
    I do not and will not apologize nor stop wearing my colognes = and too bad to those who are allergic and / or complaining…


    1. Hi Larry – I love your comments on my blog and it reminded me of seeing a recent facebook post about “perfumes of the 70’s” in which it featured my favourite perfume Giorgio …. wow – am I dating myself or what. I saw that it was being discontinued so I bought an extra bottle from Shoppers. When I was first working in the 70’s it seemed that this was the most extravagant purchase I made! 🙂


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