Airport Miscellany Security Travel Etiquette

Passengers’ Bad Behavior On the Rise

Turns out the friendly skies are, well…the jokes sort of write themselves.

USA Today reports that incidents of “unruly airline passengers, ranging from yelling to fighting, grew last year worldwide as airlines sought cooperation to reduce the abuse.” There were 10,854 reported incidents worldwide in 2015, up from 9,316 the year before, per the International Air Transport Association (IATA). That’s an increase of 17 percent.

The good news? The U.S. isn’t really part of the problem. Incidents here peaked in 2004, when 310 were reported. In 2015 that number was down to 103. So we get a gold star for good behavior.

[st_related]Pay Up, Passengers? Airports to Fine Unruly Flyers[/st_related]

Overall, most incidents involved verbal abuse or not following crew instructions. But according to USA Today, 11 percent of the incidents involved physical aggression toward other passengers or crew members, or damage to the plane. And 23 percent of those incidents involved alcohol, which IATA says was mostly consumed prior to boarding.

“I don’t think anybody knows exactly the reason driving the rise,” said IATA assistant director, Tom Coleman, according to the BBC. “Perhaps it’s just reflective of societal changes where anti-social behavior is more prevalent and perhaps more accepted.”

There have been several notable incidents of bad behavior, including the time a Southwest passenger choked a fellow passenger over a reclined seat or, just last month, when an Orlando-bound British Airways flight was diverted when a passenger “interfered with flight crew.”

Readers, have you ever been on a flight where an unruly passenger caused a disturbance or, worse, a diversion or delay? Share your story below.

More from SmarterTravel:

By Carl Unger

Contributing Editor Carl Unger believes that every trip is worth taking. He loves an extended trip to Europe as much as he enjoys exploring the towns and landscape near home. Basically, you'll find him wherever there is good food, fresh air, and plenty of stories to bring home.

Carl has been writing for SmarterTravel since 2005. His travel writing has also appeared on USA Today and the Boston travel guide.

The Handy Item I Always Pack: "It's not revolutionary, but a small Moleskine notebook is my one travel must-have. It's great for noting things you want to remember and it takes up hardly any space in your bag."

Ultimate Bucket List Experience: "Japan. I'd love to take a month off and visit the cities, temples, and countryside. I'm fascinated by the country's juxtaposition of ancient traditions and modern ambitions."

Travel Motto: “Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.” –Terry Pratchett

Aisle, Window, or Middle Seat: "Window."

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *