MADRID – Recent news reports have highlighted an alarming trend of in-flight disturbances and fights on flights to popular holiday destinations. Airlines have seen an increase in such incidents, especially on flights to cities in Spain such as Alicante and Tenerife, but also to other destinations like Oslo and Liverpool.
One of the recent incidents occurred on a flight from Oslo to Alicante, where fifteen passengers got into a physical altercation, leading to the flight crew intervening and the plane making an emergency landing. Furthermore, the crew reported that some passengers received injuries.
In another instance, on a flight from Liverpool to Tenerife a passenger became aggressive towards the flight crew. In the end, the conflict on board involved a dozen passengers and forced the crew of an EasyJet flight to request a priority landing at the Tenerife airport and police presence on the runway.
Fights on flights outside Europe
However, the situation is not limited to flights to Spain. A United flight to Israel was forced to turn back to New York after a passenger started fighting with the crew. On April 20 a flight from Cairns to Darwin a fight broke out between passengers. The crew decided to turn the plane around and land back in Cairns. After departing for the second time again a fight broke out with multiple passengers involved. During the disturbance, an internal window of the plane was broken.
Are stricter penalties needed?
Airline officials have expressed concern over these incidents. Som are calling for stricter penalties for passengers who behave aggressively or violently on flights. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has also released a statement. Herin, the IATA is condemning the incidents, stating that such behaviour is unacceptable and will not be tolerated.
In response to the growing concerns, some airlines have implemented measures to prevent such incidents from happening. This includes increasing the training of flight crews to handle disruptive passengers. Furthermore, implementing stricter policies for passengers who exhibit aggressive or violent behaviour on flights.
Frustration and anger
However, airline officials have also pointed out that the root cause of these incidents may be the stress and anxiety caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Furthermore, the increasing popularity of budget airline travel may add to it. Many passengers are looking to save money on their flights. This can lead to overcrowding and longer wait times, causing frustration and anger.