From delayed flights to lost luggage, most of us have experienced a minor form of rage courtesy of an airport. But when alcohol is added into the mix, things can go from “minor” to “major” in the blink of an eye.
The Air Rage Trend
The Civil Aviation Authority confirmed that there were 271 incidents of “floozing-induced” disruptive passengers between April 2014 and March 2015 – a number that climbed from 190 just 12 months earlier.
One of the most recent alcohol-related rage incidents came courtesy of a drunken passenger flying with Air Canada earlier this month. The intoxicated passenger ultimately sparked a flight diversion after he assaulted one of the female flight attendants in mid-air.
In a separate incident this month, a Ryanair passenger received a lifetime ban after harassing females on the flight, physically fighting several other passengers and ultimately passing out in the lavatory while on a flight to Spain.
Dangers of Alcohol and Airlines
The air rage problem is also on the rise in the United States. Last February, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reported that U.S. airlines dealt with 150 unruly passengers last year and more than 4,000 in total over the last 20 years.
Although airlines typically fine these passengers, a joint report from NBC News and USA Today discovered that most of these fines are ultimately drastically reduced or left unpaid due to substance abuse or financial issues.
Believe it or not, the FAA handed down over $1.5 million in fines between 2009 and 2013. In the end, however, the agency collected less than half that amount from the passengers responsible these spirit-laden uproars.
Taking Control and Limiting Alcohol
Why is alcohol often a catalyst for these dangerous bouts of air rage?
Drinking frequently sparks or heightens events of rage because it lowers levels of inhibition and awareness. In some cases, these unruly passengers claim that they “blacked out” and have absolutely no recollection of what took place.
Unlike road rage incidents, however, airline cabin crew and pilots are trained to follow specific protocols during instances of air rage.
As a result of increasing reports, airports around the world have been advised to take measures to prevent instances of air rage. Most of these new measures include implementing stronger restrictions on alcohol sales in lounge areas.
However, China could soon be taking the most drastic measures to date in order to address this problem.
Chinese officials have proposed banning unruly passengers from all commercial flights in the country, but have yet to reach a firm decision on the proposed “no fly” list. They’ve also considered prosecuting unruly passengers for causing disruptions mid-flight or violating blacklist restrictions should the bans be approved.
Additional Reading: Shocking Report: Bars and Liquor Stores Impact Suicide Rates
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