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Unruly passengers on the rise…

May 21st, 2014

Kinny Cheng

Mary Kirby, reporting from IATA’s first-ever Cabin Operations Safety Conference:

Incidents involving unruly passengers on board aircraft rose in 2013. Preliminary data show that last year saw a spike in such events, with IATA member airlines reporting 8,217 incidents, up from 5,220 in 2012.

The vast majority of unruly passenger incidents involve some form of verbal confrontation. But a significant percentage also involve physical assaults and even sexual abuse. The FBI is researching the latter in the US “because they report that an average four times every month a passenger is accused of an act of physically touching up the person next to them on board, usually while the passenger is asleep,” aviation security expert Philip Baum said today in Madrid during a workshop at IATA’s first ever Cabin Operations Safety Conference.

It’s a pretty shocking situation that we, as air travellers, have on our hands. I can see several possible reasons for this, from a passenger experience perspective, and especially more so when there is a compounding effect of these factors.

Indeed, the airlines, and the overall commercial aviation industry, need to pay very close attention here. Try to identify the root cause, and not simply reflect on the numerous misdemeanours that result in the ultimate statistic.

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