In-flight violence rose in 2017, says study

In April 2017, a United Airlines passenger violence dragged from a flight made headlines around the world.


Drunk and violent passengers are on the rise, with the crew now forced to physically restrain mid-flight troublemakers than ever before.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) says a 50 percent increase this year in the number of passengers forced recognized for bad behavior, ranging from verbal abuse to life threatening situations.

The annual statistics come after a year of controversial stories from around the world, including the famous case of a United Airlines passenger who was dragged from a flight in April.


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In one incident in October, a sozzled woman who turned to a passenger on a flight from Manchester to Cancun forced the pilot to land 2,000 miles away in Quebec, and was then imprisoned for 20 days.

Bridget Hanley binged on a gin and tonic, champagne and wine and on the way to the Mexican beach resort. When a fellow traveler asked her to stop slamming her tray, Hanley replied: “Shut up, ugly face. Who are you to tell me what to do?” before threatening to throw them off the plane and lunging on a TUI member of the crew of holiday company TUI.

In a separate incident in September, a brawl broke out on a Ryanair flight from Newcastle to Alicante as a “drunk” woman was “kick-off”. Both men and women with punches to the head and thrown over the seats as other passengers desperately tried to get away from the fight.

Liquor is regularly involved when it comes to these incidents on aircraft – third of all incidents involved intoxicated passengers, with 444 registered as cases that “escalated physical.”


In July, a furious flyer was dragged out of a BRITISH flight by four police officers for a “drunk” rant against a steward and a group of women. Footage shows the man shouting in the hallway during a Virgin Atlantic flight from London Gatwick to Montego Bay, Jamaica. He had to take advantage of the free minibar and flew into a rage after he was refused more liquor, according to witnesses.

Earlier in the year, in May, a passenger forced a Flybe flight between Birmingham and Amsterdam to turn around and land again after he was threatened with a “p*** on the floor” just ten minutes after the plane had left the airport.

Kieran Tabberner was aggressive after he was told he could not use the toilet, and turned his anger on air flight attendant Robyn Pascoe, who is so traumatized that she later quit her job of seven years of fear.

Last month, Tabberner was found guilty of behaving in a threatening, abusive and insulting manner in the direction of a member of aircraft crew. He was fined $700, told to pay court costs of $700 and ordered to pay Pascoe $700 in fee plus a $70 court fee.


Incidents like this are becoming more frequent with the amount of disorderly passengers in the aircraft is rising year-on-year and many airlines are now training staff for violent situations. The figures also show that passengers are more aggressive than previously, with the number of incidents, including physical assault, rising to 12 percent from 11 percent.

The total number of reported incidents actually decreased by 10 percent, with 9,837 counted in a total of the equivalent of one incident every 1,434 flights. But the number of abuse incidents rose sharply, with 169 passengers that are forced to be limited – more than double the previous year.

More than half of all cases involved passengers smoking on board, both in the cabin or, more generally, in the toilets.

The measurement of the incidents taken into account with 190 of the world’s airlines, but with thousands of registered airlines throughout the world, the IATA has admitted that the figures may be a considerable underestimation of the problem.

This article originally appeared in the Sun.

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