Airlines had to physically restrain more passengers last year

Chris Miller
December 07, 2017 - 9:01 am

Are you flying somewhere for the holidays? Better hope your fellow passengers are on their best behavior -- a report finds in increase in the number of air rage incidents where passengers were physically restrained on board the aircraft. 

According to the International Air Transport Association, there was a 50 percent increase last year in passengers forcibly confined. The bad behavior ranged from verbal abuse to an attempt to get into the cockpit. In one incident, a flight crew says a drunk passenger tried to invade the cockpit, and the plane ended up getting a fighter jet escort to the airport.

Paul Hudson with says a lot of these incidents didn't have to get to the point of physical restraint.

"We've suggested a number of things. One is what one or two European airlines have adopted is what we all the yellow card solution," says Hudson, explaining that it works similar to how soccer referees warn players when they're about to cross a line and get tossed out of the game.

"Many of these incidents escalate verbally, and we think giving someone a written warning would be a good way to reduce and eliminate a lot of it," said Hudson.

A third of reported incidents involved passengers who were drunk. Hudson says airlines should consider a last call for all passengers.

"We think there should be a two-drink limit, particularly on the shorter flights," he said.

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