Airlines have had enough of drunken, unruly and abusive passengers and one carrier is preparing to sue an offender in the courts, hoping it will set a precedent.
Jet2.com, a budget carrier based at London’s Stansted Airport, is about to commence legal action in a Spanish court against a Scottish passenger who allegedly directed “foul and abusive language” at cabin crew on a flight from Glasgow to the Spanish holiday island of Ibiza last week.
The offender was arrested when the flight touched down. The airline told him it had banned him from ever flying with it again. Not only will he have to find his own way back to Britain, Jet2.com said it would be “pursuing legal action against the troublemaker in the Spanish courts”.
Jet2.com managing director Phil Ward is one of the most proactive of airline chief executives when it comes to dealing with troublemakers.
He told the Times recently his airline would not allow a “disruptive few” to spoil flights for families and holidaymakers.
After the latest incident, Ward said: “We are a leisure airline and it’s our business to ensure that the families who fly with us have a fantastic start to their holiday.
“No one should have to put up with behaviour like this.”
Ward called on the airline industry to work together “to eradicate the growing problem of disruptive passenger behaviour”.
He added: “In this particular incident, we supported our crew members to return to Spain to begin legal proceedings and we will be continuing to discuss the best way to progress this action with the Spanish authorities”.
Jet2.com wants a national shared database of passengers who have been banned for disruptive behaviour. In time, such databases may go international.
British carriers seem to be plagued with abusive drunks more than other airlines. Ward says he has seen passengers “pre-loading” with alcohol before flights, knocking back cans of lager at 5.30am in Manchester Airport.
“The plane is not a nightclub,” Ward commented. “It’s six miles up and going at 500mph so you can’t step outside to get some fresh air.”
Written by Peter Needham