Passenger air rage incidents – taking off

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Passenger air rage incidents – taking off

Across the world, from Korea to the UK, unruly air passengers are increasingly making headlines for disrupting flights and causing chaos for both other passengers and airlines.

Recently a passenger on board an easyJet flight from Gatwick to Belfast was tasered by police shortly before the aircraft was due to take off. The incident occurred after the passenger allegedly became abusive during an argument over luggage allowances.

This recent example of air rage is far from isolated, with air rage appearing to be on the rise globally. In 2014, a Korean Air flight was delayed due to the now infamous “nut rage” tantrum of Cho Hyun-ah, the daughter of the airline’s chairman. This particular air rage incident resulted in a prison sentence for Cho Hyun-ah, showing the tough approach taken by certain law enforcement authorities towards such individuals.

Air rage incidents up by 40%
Figures released by the Civil Aviation Authority under a freedom of information request provide a startling indication as to the volume of alcohol fuelled air rage incidents reported in the past year. The figures show a 40% increase in alcohol fuelled air rage incidents from last year, with a total of 271 incidents between April 2014 and March 2015.

In an attempt to stem the rise in alcohol induced episodes, Glasgow’s Prestwick Airport has reportedly introduced security staff to monitor bar areas. Further, Ryanair has recently taken the decision prohibit duty free on board flights travelling to Ibiza from the UK, following reports that five people were removed from a Ryanair flight for behaving abusively towards staff.

Time for an industry-wide standard?
There is currently no industry-wide standard which deals with air rage incidents, however, as the level of incidents continue to rise perhaps it’s now time to review the situation.

Until such time, airlines should ensure that their internal policies for dealing with disruptive passengers are up to date, and that employees (including both ground staff and cabin crew) are fully trained on their implementation.  

Alina Nosek, Partner, AviationFor more information on aviation law or related enquiries, contact Alina Nosek, Head of Aviation.

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Published: 24 Aug 2015

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