Unruly passenger incidents become fewer, but more serious
The number of serious incidents involving drunk and violent travelers increases and very often the cabin crew has no other option but to restrain unruly passengers physically. There were 169 incidents that involved restraint use in 2016 versus 113 in 2015, IATA said in a recent report.
According to IATA's statistics, the total number of reported incidents of disruptive behavior onboard in 2016 actually fell by almost 10% to 9,837. However, there is an increase in the proportion of the incidents involving physically abusive or obscene behavior, verbal threats of physical violence and tampering with emergency or safety equipment – from 11% in 2015 to 12% in 2016.
It is also known about several disruptive incidents which happened in 2017. Thus, in January, ten passengers had to restrain a drunk traveler on a British Airways flight, the Sun reported. The man became “very aggressive” after drinking one liter of duty-free whiskey and complimentary in-flight drinks on an 11-hour flight from Heathrow to Bangkok. He“was making a lot of noise, shouting and being violent,” one of the passengers told the Sun. Travellers had to restrain the man and bundle him off the plane when it landed for police to arrest him.
“Unruly passengers remain a significant issue for the industry and the only way to deal with this problem is for governments, airlines and other stakeholders to continue to work together to resolve it,” IATA stated.
Managing Director at Green Light Philip Baum, during the IATA Media Day event in Geneva, offered to conduct special training for crew members which will enable them to better assess the threats posed by any situation on board and, if necessary, “better physically restrain the unruly passenger.”
In 2014, the ICAO member nations recognized the limitations of existing international legislation in deterring unruly passengers and agreed to Montreal Protocol 14 (MP14) of the Tokyo Convention, which gives countries legal tools to deal with unruly passengers.
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