A sharp rise in incidents of bad behaviour onboard aircraft has
prompted the International Air Transport Association (IATA) to call for
crackdown on those who abuse crew and intimidate other passengers.
The number of unruly passenger incidents initially fell after the
mask mandates were removed on most flights, but the frequency began to
rise again throughout 2022 and ended the year some 37% up on 2021.
The most common examples of non-compliance were smoking of
cigarettes, e-cigarettes, vapes and puff devices in the cabin or
lavatories; failure to fasten seatbelts when instructed; verbal abuse;
Exceeding the carry-on baggage allowance or failing to store baggage when required was another issue identified by IATA.
IATA is now calling for more states to take the necessary authority
to prosecute passengers who cause trouble on aircraft. Latest figures
show that there was one unruly incident reported for every 568 flights
in 2022, up from one per 835 flights in 2021.
Physical abuse incidents remain rare, but these had a hefty increase of 61% over 2021.
“It is unacceptable that rules in place for everyone’s safety are
disobeyed by a small but persistent minority of passengers,” said Conrad
Clifford, IATA’s deputy director general. “No one wants to stop people
having a good time when they go on holiday—but we all have a
responsibility to behave with respect for other passengers and the crew.
“For the sake of the majority, we make no apology for seeking to
crack down on the bad behaviour of a tiny number of travellers who can
make a flight very uncomfortable for everyone else,” said Clifford.