“Remove Before Flight” Tags on Aircraft

Aircraft · 6 min read · Jun 19, 2024

Meaning of remove before flight

Many times you are at the airport for a scheduled flight, you would notice that some red tags are used around the aircraft and removed while the plane is on the ground but before the plane finally takes off.

The superficial meaning of the words “Remove Before Flight” is “remove these tags before the plane takes to the air”. What it really means is to remove all the protective covers and pins that protect against third-party objects before a flight. The use of the label on the plane is not used for mere display. It is to ensure that the essential parts of the plane become as restricted as possible against a third party and work perfectly.

The checks and service are of utmost importance because the airline’s priority is to ensure that 100% safety is provided for the occupants of every flight. So, in the rare event, you sight a non-removal of any label with a similar inscription on the plane while boarding, please send for any of the aircraft’s officials. 

Places where remove before flight are found

You find the Remove Before Flight labels in places where protective covers or pins are used to protect third-party objects during the service of a plane while it is in traffic, on the ground, or in the hangar for the security of the plane.

You may discover that a design is used differently from the usual tag, but they all do the same job and share the same info. These protective covers and pins are used to ensure that dust, insects, and other third-party elements do not gain their way into the plane while in the hangar.

The Remove Before Flight labels is placed along with them to remember where the protective covers have been used. The labels have become a symbol of checks. When the pilots or the flight crew carry out their pre-flight checks, they remove all the Remove Before Flight labels and protective covers used to protect against third-party objects used on the plane. Failure to remove these before flight labels may result in fatal accidents to the plane’s performance and thus, endangering the lives of its occupants.

A fragment of an aircraft's landing gear with a tag "remove before flight".
Image source: Kurt Raschke

Pre-flight checklists

Pre-Flight Checklists are the activities the pilots (shared as partners), the flight crew, and the air traffic control must carry out before any flight. These checks ensure that all things are well, mechanically, with the plane, and where not all things are well, you do repairs and service where needed. 

The Pre-Flight Checklists are provided for by the aviation regulatory agency, manufacturers of the plane, and the airline itself. The Pre-Flight Checklists list things used to check the functionality before the plane undertakes a flight. This list is divided into three parts: before starting the engine, starting the engine, and take-off.

One of the first tasks done in the Before Starting Engine section of the list is the Complete External Checks; the flight crews remove the Remove before Flight labels. Most times the used labels are placed at overt places – outside the plane, which enables it to be sighted and removed – along with the protective covers or pins used to protect against third-party objects before take-off.

History of pre-flight checklist

You may wonder where the term and rituals of the pre-flight checklist originated from. 

Let us say a small event, which was fatal, gave birth to the checklist. In 1935, the Boeing Corporation’s management and engineers introduced the first checklist after the death of two pilots in a Boeing B-17.

After an accident report request, the report stated that the pilots forgot to disengage the gust locks while flying the plane. The pilots would have remembered disengaging if there was a checklist to follow before the plane took off, and this case would not have become a sad story.

The checklist tries to avoid a situation that results in a fatal accident- an airplane crash. Plane crashes have not stopped totally, but they have significantly reduced compared to what it would have been without the checklist.

Understanding Airport Operations course banner

Dangers of leaving the remove before flight during take-off

The instruction, ‘Remove Before Flight’ is used to show how important and necessary it is to remove the label and the protective cover that protect against third-party objects before the aircraft takes off. The labels and protective covers protect against third-party objects during flights, and they impede the optimal performance of aircraft. There have been instances where negligence to remove the labels used to share signals has led to a crash, with most of the plane’s occupants dead from the crash.

The Aeroperu Flight 603’s crash comes to mind. The flight went well until the pilots could not see the altitude and airspeed. In all their turning, maneuvers, and navigation, they found themselves in the Pacific ocean with all persons onboard dying from the crash. Upon final accident report, they discovered that three ports supplying aerodynamic data such as altitude and airspeed were covered with protective tape, which was not removed when the plane took off. It resulted in system failure.

Fighter jets marked with tags "remove before flight" parked at an airfield.
Image source: https://www.themodellingnews.com/2014/05/gary-reviews-new-fabric-remove-before.html

Where to buy these remove before flight tags

Following some advertising, displays, and browsing pages saved as cookies data, the Remove Before Flight labels are available in different stores as a general label. As an internet user, you can save as cookies data or contact the stores to ensure you get specially drafted labels. Whichever way you want, the products are available online through pages saved through cookies or physical shops.

You have two options: as an internet user, you could use the Google search for a retail business site close to you that sells the labels – if you intend to use it for your airline or private aircraft and order the quantity you want on the store’s website. You can save cookies data to store the online shop site on your internet and engage in shopping later. These internet cookies data ensure analytics and performance of your search are highly rated. As an internet user, Google does not forget any search done on it as long as the cookies data are saved. As an internet user, the next time you go to the Google page and type in anything related to the store, the cookies data will bring up info about the store and its website.

Also, you, as an internet user, could browse through the Google page, get your preferred store’s address amongst the ones close to you, save the page as cookies, and visit there physically for shopping. You would be able to pick out items you need.

Remove before flight souvenirs

To show how important the Remove Before Flight labels are and to make everyone know that, ‘yeah, it seems this phrase is quite important in the aviation sector,’ you would find the words imprinted on many fabric, mugs, bags, gifts, etc. It is not surprising to find a clothing line with this text when you go shopping or search, as an internet user, on Google for clothing or gifts related to aviation.

Companies use this inscription to make shirts, vests, jackets, shorts, singlets, etc., or gifts. Many aviation or aircraft enthusiasts see it as an inside joke and wear it everywhere. For others who can get the meaning and joke, they are seen as fellow enthusiasts.

Safety of an aircraft

Safety is a crucial word in the aviation sector. Any airline or aircraft that frequently has crashes must lose credibility and struggle to regain its credibility for a long time. 

From the design of an aircraft to the new technology installed in it to the intensive training of the pilots and flight crew, care is shown, and it is, in fact, the main reason why many funds are used to service a plane.

Human lives are vital and in whatever sector humans transact in, the care and preservation of lives is a focal point. In the aviation sector, an aircraft accident results in a fatal effect on humans. It is necessary to prevent accidents or crashes or keep them at the barest minimum. The Remove Before Flight labels is part of the preservation measures to ensure that an aircraft works well without developing any issue or the entering in of any third party objects during a flight. 

A view of a side of an aircraft and its jet engine, marked with a tag "remove before flight".
Image source: https://modelkits.com.ua/1-48-remuvka-lenta-zashchitnogo-prisposobleniya-tsvetnaya-fototravlennaya-mikrodizayn-md-048022/


Remove Before Flight labels are used as part of the preservation mechanism in the aviation sector. It is vital to ensure these tags are used when a plane is in service or on the ground to stop third-party objects from entering the plane, and it is essential to remove these labels before take-off.

When you shop for gifts with remove before flight inscriptions or buy them from a retail business’ website, saved through cookies, for airplane enthusiasts, you please them. So, if you have to share a gift, this is a good one.

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Aeroclass Team
A team of professionals with a deep passion for the aviation industry bringing you the newest and the most striking industry-related news and content.

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