Problems with mid-air misbehaviour continue in the run-up to Christmas, with a middle-aged man drinking heavily in business class and then stripping before lighting up a cigarette.
The carrier this time was Emirates, rather than one of the low-cost carriers where weird conduct is less unusual.
The flight was EK020, an A380 flight from Manchester to Dubai.
Other passengers told London’s Daily Express that the man had been drinking in the upper deck business class bar for hours.
As the plane prepared for landing a strong smell of cigarette smoke wafted through the air and cabin crew noticed that the man, believed to be in his 50s, had stripped to the waist. Passengers told the Express the man was intoxicated.
A supervisor reportedly found a packet of cigarettes in the man’s seat pocket “after crew had to restrain him”. One of the cigarettes was allegedly partially smoked.
The paper quoted a passenger saying the smoker had claimed in a “very loud Manchester accent” that he had “forgotten he was on a plane”.
He decided that he wanted to “chat with the captain to apologise” – which may have been when cabin crew decided to restrain him.
Emirates’ word on the matter: “Emirates can confirm that on flight EK020 from Manchester to Dubai on 9 December, an intoxicated passenger had to be restrained by cabin crew. The aircraft was met by security upon landing at Dubai airport.
“The safety of our passengers and crew is of utmost importance and will not be compromised.”
Odd and threatening in-flight behaviour is being reported increasingly around the world. IATA recorded 10,854 passenger disruptions worldwide last year, or one incident for every 1205 flights. That’s an increase from the 9316 incidents (one incident for every 1282 flights) reported in 2014.
Most incidents involved verbal abuse, failure to follow lawful crew instructions and other forms of anti-social behaviour. A significant proportion (11%) of reports indicated physical aggression towards passengers or crew or damage to the aircraft.
Alcohol or drug intoxication was identified as a factor in 23% of cases, though in the vast majority of instances the drink or drugs were consumed prior to boarding or from personal supply without knowledge of the crew.
Written by Peter Needham