AviationAs masks come off, unruly passenger incidents soar in 2022.

Plane bad behaviour by passengers is skyrocketing

IATA is calling for more states to prosecute passengers who cause trouble on aircraft.
IATA is calling for more states to prosecute passengers who cause trouble on aircraft.

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; and intoxication.

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.

The Call of the Waves
July - September 2023 eBook

Bold, innovative, and inspiring: these leading cruise lines embrace new opportunities to meet surging demand in Asia’s cruise market

Read Now

JDS Travel News JDS Viewpoints JDS Africa/MI