If the weather delays, overbooking, poor maintenance, and general disorganisation of the airports and airlines drives you crazy, then feel some pain for those who have survived that only to have been denied boarding at check-in, or worse yet after they've been seated on an aircraft. Then to make things worse, have the police escort you off the flight or away from the check-in counter.

It sounds like fiction, but denied boarding by airlines is a daily event. In some cases it has nothing to do with the airline. The issue really begins back at immigration and beyond that to the persons past. Some countries are now not only denying boarding to some passengers, they are actually arresting passengers when they come to check-in for a flight.  With a view to relieve public debt, New Zealand and now Australia are both denying boarding for citizens, permanent residents, and anyone who may have a debt within the country from departing on an international flight.

This has actually lead to quite a interesting situation with New Zealand denying boarding and arresting the Cook Islands prime ministers relative for non-payment of school fees, during a visit to the country 11 years later. Australia now says that they have A$3.5 billion to collect and will stop people from leaving the country if a debt is not repaid prior to travel. Border Security/Immigration/airline check-in staff have become de-facto debt collectors and law enforcement officers. With governments around the world in financial crisis, the stage is set for the New Zealand and Australian ‘collection process’ to be replicated and stepped up around the globe.

What does that mean for you? Not much.. unless you missed a payment 6 years ago to a government office, forgot you had a student debt from 25 years ago, go back for a visit 11 years or so after graduation to visit in the country of your Alma Mater when you still owe money in the country from your school days, or perhaps you just didn’t pay all your taxes in some odd year throwing the government collection wheels into movement. And, it may not even be you… it could be someone you are travelling with for the trip of a lifetime that gets stopped trying to board a plane out of the country. This type of trip disruption is not covered by travel insurance!

Given the sheer numbers involved to balance the government books, you can be pretty sure that you will be seeing the denied boarding scenario played out at an airport near you over the next few years.