New Delhi, May 21 (). In the recent past, there has been an increase in incidents of misbehavior by passengers in mid-air during flights. These incidents paint a poor picture of the passengers. Due to lax laws, it is also becoming difficult to control these incidents.
According to International Air Transport Association (IATA) data available with , incidents of drunk passengers are set to increase to 143 in 2022 from 121 in 2021, compared to 1,000 flights. However, in 2020 it was 190.
The rate of action in incidents, the data said, declined from 350 in 2020 to 279 in 2022.
Reported incidents of alcohol abuse increase to 143 in 2022, compared to 121 in 2021. About 190 drug cases were reported in 2020.
According to IATA, unruly behavior of passengers has a significant impact. It poses a safety hazard, disrupts fellow passengers and crew, and is likely to cause delays and diversions. Unfortunately, existing international air laws also have loopholes.
Data from industry sources and regulatory bodies such as the UK Civil Aviation Authority, the US Federal Aviation Authority (FAA), and the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) indicate a long-term trend of increasing frequency and severity of unruly passenger incidents.
Most reported incidents involving unruly passengers fall under the Level 1 classification, which is typically characterized by verbal misconduct and anti-social behaviour. Examples include not adhering to face coverings (where required) or refusing to wear seatbelts. In most cases, well-trained cabin crew members can resolve these incidents effectively.
It is important to note that these incidents should not be dismissed as trivial. In doing so, they may increase, which distracts the attention of the crew and disrupts the discipline of the aircraft.
Similarly, instances where a person is intoxicated but is not exhibiting unruly behavior are likely to be classified as Level 1 incidents. It is important to emphasize that any passenger aboard a flight who is under the influence of alcohol, drugs or medication is a threat to the safety of not only themselves, but everyone else on board. An intoxicated passenger who cannot follow safety instructions or participate in an emergency evacuation becomes a safety risk.
Level 2 and Level 3 incidents involve physical altercations, which can pose a significant risk to both crew members and fellow passengers. When an unruly passenger assaults a cabin crew member, the injuries may render them unable to perform their primary duties. Additionally, there is a security risk when unruly passengers damage or tamper with essential security equipment on board the aircraft.
On November 26 last year, a man named Shankar Mishra, a senior executive in a US-based company and traveling in business class, allegedly under the influence of alcohol, committed a shocking act on an Air India flight from New York to New Delhi. Did.
Mishra urinated openly on a seventy-year-old woman who was a passenger on the same flight.
Air India, acting on the incident, imposed a four-month flying ban on Mishra on 20 January.
A three-member internal committee headed by a former district judge on Civil Aviation Requirements (CAR) has concluded that Shankar Mishra falls under the definition of unruly passenger and has been suspended for 4 months, an Air India spokesperson said in a statement. Flying has been banned.
As a result of this incident, Air India has undertaken a thorough review of its alcohol service policy. As per the new policy, cabin crew have been instructed to be vigilant in identifying passengers who themselves are consuming alcohol. Additionally, the airline emphasizes that cabin crew members must maintain polite demeanor while interacting with passengers.
On 20 January, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) took disciplinary action against Air India after an incident of passenger misbehavior and imposed a fine of Rs 30 lakh on the airline and suspended the license of the pilot-in-command. The hearing of the case is also going on in the Supreme Court.