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Air rage incidents soar on UK flights: Report

Press Trust of India  |  London 

The number of "air rage" incidents on UK airlines has quadrupled over a three-year period, according to official figures.

Quoting Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) data, the BBC reported that there were 386 dangerous incidents in 2015 - compared with just 85 in 2013.

It is an offence to be drunk on a plane or to refuse to obey instructions given by the captain.

Examples of incidents quoted by the CAA include disruptive passengers fighting each other and one who had to be restrained during the flight after "progressively disruptive behaviour" before attempting to open the plane door.

It took four policemen to remove one passenger, who was described as "uncontrollable and verbally abusive", in another incident.

"People a lot of the time don't actually realise they're on board an aircraft. I think a lot of the time people think that they're in a club or in a bar. They behave like animals. You can't believe your eyes some of the things that you're seeing," says a veteran crew member of a British airliner.

"Now we're getting to the point where we're having to be bouncers," he said.

According to him, the problems are worst on short-haul destinations to European cities popular with stag and hen parties, although flights to Las Vegas in the US can also be problematic.

In July, the aviation minister Lord Ahmad said he was looking at the way alcohol was sold in airports, but has yet to announce his findings.

British carrier Jet 2 has banned 22 troublemakers for life already this year. Managing Director of Jet 2 Phil Ward said he would like to see the creation of a centralised database so that anyone who has been punished by a single airline could be barred across the industry.

More than 250 million passengers pass through UK airports every year, with close to two million flights, so the number of untoward incidents is still relatively small.

But figures from the Civil Aviation Authority leave no room for doubt that the problem of passenger misbehaviour is getting worse.

They are sent mandatory occurrence reports from every UK airline, identifying occasions where a plane, its crew or passengers are put at risk.

Internationally, too, the problem seems to be growing.

The International Air Transport Association has seen a growth in the number of reports of unruly passenger incidents every year since 2007, with more than 10,000 reported last year.

A quarter of them mention drugs or alcohol as a trigger, the report said.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sun, September 18 2016. 17:28 IST