Unruly or Bad Passengers on Planes Now a "Significant" Problem

Back in 2007, the world’s airlines reported fewer than 500 incidents of unruly passengers. While bad behavior is still rare, the International Air Transport Association says  it’s on the increase and is now a “significant problem.”

8,000 Bad Passengers in 2013

According to the IATA, there were 8,000 unruly passenger incidents last year. Often, alcohol is a factor; as the association’s report stated, “Intoxication, often resulting from alcohol already consumed before boarding, ranks high among factors linked to these incidents.”

What Bad Passengers Do

The incidents themselves are all over the map. They include:

  • Failure to obey the cabin crew
  • Use of illegal narcotics
  • Threats toward crew members and fellow passengers
  • Violent acts
  • Sexual harassment

What to do if you fly with an unruly passenger

FareCompare has reported some of the more lurid examples of bad  behavior over the years, which include:

  • A passenger who downed liquid soap (high alcohol content) then tried to bite a flight attendant’s leg
  • A SkyWest passenger who believed he was a space alien and asked to fly the plane
  • A Spirit passenger who propositioned a flight attendant then groped her
  • An Iceland Air passenger who became so obnoxiously drunk, fellow passengers duct taped him to his seat

Solution: Better Laws

As the IATA points out, sometime unruly passengers go unpunished because of multiple jurisdictions as planes fly from country to  country, so the organization is asking governments around the world to work together to extend the legal jurisdiction of unruly passenger incidents to the territory in which the aircraft lands.

Sounds like a plan to us but – what do you say?


Published: June 3, 2014