In 2013, the number of incidents of unruly passenger behavior voluntarily reported to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) by airlines reached some 8,000 cases, IATA reports.
Intoxication, often resulting from alcohol already consumed before boarding, ranks high among factors linked to these incidents, IATA said. Other causes include irritation with another passenger’s behavior, frustration with rules such as smoking prohibitions or use of electronic devices or emotional triggers originating prior to flight.
IATA called for action by the industry and government during IATA's 70th Annual General Meeting (AGM) and unanimously adopted a resolution that calls for action.
Reflecting the broad number of factors associated with unruly behavior, the Resolution’s core principles on unruly passengers take a wide-ranging approach to the issue, IATA said.
IATA wants a balanced package of measures to effectively deter and manage the "significant problem of unruly air passenger behavior." IATA said bad behavior includes committing physical assault, disturbing good order on board or failing to follow lawful crew instructions.
“This resolution confirms the determination of airlines to defend the rights of their passengers and crew. Everybody on board is entitled to enjoy a journey free from abusive or other unacceptable behavior. Many airlines have trained both ground staff and cabin crew in procedures not only to manage incidents of unruly behavior but also in measures to prevent them. But a robust solution needs alignment among airlines, airports and governments,” said Tony Tyler, IATA’s director general and CEO.
IATA urged airlines to ensure that they have in place corporate policies and appropriate training programs for cabin crew and ground staff to enable them to prevent or manage disruptive passenger behavior, including at check-in, during security search and at the gate.
Governments and airlines must raise awareness of the consequences of unruly behavior and airports and airport concessionaires such as bars and restaurants to implement procedures that could help prevent unruly behavior on flights.
“Each incident of unruly behavior marks an unacceptable inconvenience to passengers and crew. A united and balanced approach to the prevention and management of unruly passengers by governments and industry is vital. Governments should adopt all the legal powers at their disposal to ensure unruly passengers face the appropriate consequences for their actions. Airlines, airports, and others must work together to implement the right procedures and train staff to respond effectively to such instances,” said Tyler.