Disruptive airline passengers

By | Category: Travel news
Bottle shaped One Too Many campaign

the logo of the current One Too Many campaign

Why, in the last two and a half years has there been an increase in the number of disruptive airline passengers? And the majority are alcohol related.

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) yesterday published the number of incidents involving disruptive passengers each year since 2013. Back then there were just 98 incidents. It rose to 145 in 2014, 195 in 2015 and then it jumped enormously to 415 in 2016 and 417 in 2017. So far this year it is 202 so it could be that a similarly high number will be recorded for this year. The figures are taken from the CAA’s Mandatory Occurrence Reporting database.

The CAA is using the publication of the figures to call upon airlines and enforcement agencies to make better use of laws already in place and the authority will work with airlines and others to assist in prosecuting miscreants. It reminds passengers that offenders can be jailed for up to five years for endangering the safety of an aircraft. They can also be charged with specific offences of being drunk on board an aircraft and for acting in a disruptive manner. Smoking and failing to obey the commands of the captain are also against the law and can be punished by a fine or imprisonment. On top of these penalties are others like being banned from flying on a particular airline and being asked to pay if a plane is diverted, a sum that would usually cost tens of thousands of pounds.

But has there been an increase or is it better reporting? Or the fact that airlines are getting tougher on passengers? I am not trying to excuse any disruptive behaviour in the slightest but merely to understand the figures.

That there was a substantial rise in 2016 might be due to the fact that it was in the year before that both Jet 2 and Ryanair toughened up their attitudes towards disruptive passengers. their lead was closely followed by easyJet.  We reported how Jet 2 introduced its Onboard Together policy that was designed to educate passengers about the effects of drinking as well as asking staff to act more quickly. Up until that point could cabin crew have been lenient?

The following year, as airlines became tougher in the approach to the unruly and the drunk, numbers shot to 415 and remained about the same for the following year. This year the One Too Many policy was launched to press home the penalties that can ensue for drunken and unruly behaviour.

It would be nice to think that if the figure stays at about 415 – 420 this year that the problem has reached its zenith. Now it is to be hoped by the industry and passengers that numbers might drop as people become more responsible. If they don’t then there is a draconian solution – ban all sales of alcohol at airports.

 

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