Fury at 38,000 feet: Unruly behavior on planes, such as alcohol abuse or violence, saw a 47% increase in 2022 with incidents on one in 568 flights compared to one in 835.
- Airline incidents with problem passengers initially fell in early 2022
- But incidents increased during the rest of the past year, including abuse and poisoning.
Rogue passenger incidents on flights around the world increased nearly 50% in 2022 compared to the previous year, according to a new report.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) compiled data recording one incident per 568 flights in 2022 compared to one incident per 835 flights in 2021, an increase of around 47%.
Failure to comply with the instructions of the flight personnel, verbal abuse and drunkenness represented the three most common incidents, IATA registered.
Incidents with problem passengers initially fell in early 2022, at a time when mask requirements were removed, before rising again throughout the year.
IATA represents some 300 airlines, which account for about 83 percent of global air traffic.
There was one incident for every 568 flights in 2022 according to IATA (file image of a Delta flight)
The report said there was an “alarming” increase in physical abuse of airline staff. Although this represented a relatively small proportion of incidents, just one in 17,200 flights, this was an increase of 61 percent over the previous year.
IATA recommended that more legal recognition be given to onboard security personnel to deal with unruly passengers and that countries ratify legislation to better deal with incidents of air rage upon arrival, regardless of the passenger’s state of origin.
The increase in non-compliance incidents accounted for smoking on board, including cigarettes, e-cigarettes and vaping, refusal to wear seat belts, and failure to store luggage when requested by attendants.
The agency’s deputy director general, Conrad Clifford, speaking at the International Air Transport Association conference in Istanbul, said: “The increasing trend of unruly passenger incidents is worrying.” Passengers and crew are entitled to a safe and hassle-free experience on board. For that, passengers must comply with the instructions of the crew.
“While our professional crews are well trained to handle unruly passenger scenarios, it is unacceptable that current rules for the safety of all are flouted by a small but persistent minority of passengers.
‘There is no excuse for not following the crew’s instructions.’
Vaping has become more prevalent on flights over the last year after becoming more popular socially. But onboard smoke alarms aren’t powerful enough to detect vapor from the device.
The increase in non-compliance incidents accounted for smoking on board, including cigarettes, e-cigarettes and vaping (file image)
A cabin crew source told The Times: “Vaping is a big problem on flights. We see people doing it all the time.
“Often we tell them to stop and they just ignore us, especially when the passengers are drinking or have been before boarding. It can get tense.
It comes as it was discovered last month that ‘air rage’ incidents on UK flights have nearly skyrocketed since before the coronavirus pandemic.
Figures from the Civil Aviation Authority show a total of 1,028 cases of sexual assault, physical violence, mass brawls, drunken threats, verbal abuse and nudity.
This was triple the incidents reported by UK airlines in 2019, which recorded 373 incidents.
These ‘air rage’ cases have become so prolific that lawmakers are now calling for a change in the law to help cabin crew deal with drunk and disruptive passengers.
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