Say that after a passenger learns of or views the flight plan, she opposes it (eg due to safety).

She could just refuse to board the flight and forfeit her ticket and costs, but are there less costly and dire and radical options? Despite being only a passenger, could she explain to the flight crew (plausibly via the cabin crew?) her reasons and thus request the reconsideration of the flight route?

Supplementary: I elucidate that I do NOT mean for her to compel or impress a specific route (replete with all the waypoints, VORs, etc...) upon the flight crew, but only a general concern for avoidance.

As an instantiation, if I were a passenger and had apprehended my flight to overfly Ukraine, even outside of the no-fly zone, then I'd remonstrate against it, in favor of a more northern one that would substantively avoid Ukraine.

  • 13
    $\begingroup$ She doesn't get on the airplane. $\endgroup$
    – GdD
    Jul 18, 2014 at 16:03
  • 9
    $\begingroup$ Travel by road. $\endgroup$
    – Farhan
    Jul 18, 2014 at 16:07
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ What about all the other planes using the same flightplan. Anyway here is true story about some one that tried to warn an airline about a flight --- phantomsandmonsters.com/2013/07/… $\endgroup$
    – Tasos
    Jul 18, 2014 at 16:48
  • 17
    $\begingroup$ I for one would walk off an airplane if its intended flight path could be altered by one or more passengers. With all the crazies out there, who is to say that the route is not being revised by some group intent on flying the plane over some missle site so that it can be shot at? Thanks, I'll stick to the professionals at the airline and trust them to choose the best route. Having "the lunatics in charge of the asylum" is not a good paradigm for aviation. $\endgroup$ Jul 18, 2014 at 18:12
  • $\begingroup$ @Tasos +1. Thanks for the link. This book is related: amazon.com/gp/product/0800634209/… $\endgroup$
    – user128
    Jul 19, 2014 at 3:35

4 Answers 4


The passenger can in all likelihood do nothing that is going to change the route.

As you point out, there is always the option to not board.

On long range flights like this, the routing will (depending on winds aloft and other conditions) almost certainly require a fairly direct route to insure that additional fuel stops are not needed. In cases where routes go over warzones or other dangerous areas, they are often rerouted, but in the case of Ukraine the conflict has until now been isolated and military in nature.

Either you trust the flight crew to also be aware of these risks, or you don't. Get on board, or not. I'm sure you could raise the issue with a gate agent, and if you made enough noise or escalated it, you might be able to get a refund (note: I have no idea). However, you also might be perceived as the source of the risk and detained!

  • $\begingroup$ Note that you're not the only one who doesn't want to get shot down - the flight crew wants to avoid it just as much as you do. $\endgroup$
    – cpast
    Jul 27, 2014 at 17:55

IMO the only option is not board.

Passengers altering flight paths sounds suspiciously like terrorists.

How does the airline tell the difference? Just because he looks like an Arab doesn't make him a terrorist. Just because she looks like a soccer mom doesn't mean she isn't.


Assuming you could find a crew to listen to you, you would have to convince the captain operating the flight of your plea. The captain then has to call dispatch and convince the dispatcher of the need for different routing. If everyone is convinced, the dispatcher can re-dispatch you, which will probably result in a change to the ordered fuel and could result in weight restrictions due to the added weight of that fuel (and if I had to remove a passenger because of that, I know the first one I would boot...). You'll also probably take a delay for the fuel people to come back out to the plane.

Assume this all went well, your captain got a new route filed and you are sitting back in your seat waiting to take off. What you don't know however, is that many airports have preferred routing between them, and no matter what route you file between them, your clearance will always be the same. So you went through all that work and now the crew is cleared back on the original routing (because dispatchers know to file these routes) and nothing has actually changed.

If you object to the routing, your only real option is to choose not to board the airplane.


You have to remember that there is a route on the flight plan, and then there is the route the plane flies. These are quite often not the same. Air Traffic control can and does regularly does change routes once a plane takes off. This allow ATC to control the sequence of plane to avoid congestion, reroute plane around bad weather, handle issues with weather, traffic, etc at the destination.

So objecting to the route based on what is planned may be an exercise in futility. If you take another flight it is likely to be routed the same, or even if it is routed differently end up fly the same route. There are only so many ways to get from point A to point B.

One way to better ensure that the flight does not fly over a certain point would be to book from point A to point C to point B. But that is likely more trouble than it is worth.


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