A new report released by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) reveals that bad air passenger behavior has dramatically increased by 37% year-on-year, with the most common types of incidents being non-compliance, verbal abuse, and intoxication. The report shows that smoking of cigarettes, e-cigarettes, vapes, and “puff devices” in the cabin or lavatories was the top non-compliance issue, followed by failure to obey seat belt instructions and exceeding the carry-on baggage limit.
Physical Abuse on the Rise
The IATA report also shows a disturbing increase of 61% in physical abuse incidents in 2022 over 2021, with only one abusive act for every 17,200 flights. Despite 2022 seeing a decline in passenger disruptions, the US Federal Aviation Administration’s data from 2021 showed a record high for bad passenger behavior in the United States, making it the worst year on record.
The IATA is urging governments and the aviation industry to work together to adopt a zero-tolerance approach to address unruly behavior. The organization is calling for governments to ratify Montreal Protocol 2014, which would allow for the prosecution of transgressive passengers. Currently, only 45 nations, which make up about a third of international passenger traffic, have taken this step.
The report also indicated that most intoxication incidents occur from alcohol consumed before a flight, highlighting the importance of responsible consumption of alcohol at airport bars and restaurants. IATA recommends that companies provide guidance, training, and best practices to prevent and de-escalate incidents.
The IATA Deputy Director General, Conrad Clifford, stated that passengers and crew members are entitled to a safe and comfortable experience on board. He emphasized the importance of a zero-tolerance approach and stressed that there is no excuse for disobedience towards the crew.
As the travel industry continues to recover post-pandemic, authorities will need to address the misconduct of a tiny percentage of unruly passengers that can affect their fellow travelers remarkably.