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Multiple maniacs fly – or is it something in the air?

March 9, 2018 Headline News No Comments Email Email

New statistics from Switzerland have highlighted a global increase in bizarre passenger flare-ups and odd behaviour, with some incidents perhaps defined as “air rage” and others not. Several crazed, creepy or downright weird cases have erupted in the past couple of weeks.

Swiss airlines, some of the world’s best regulated, had to deal last year with more unruly passengers than ever before: 795 incidents in which travellers endangered other passengers or the flight itself.

This figure is up from 755 the previous year and 637 in 2015, according to the Swiss publication SonntagsZeitung, quoting the Swiss Federal Office of Civil Aviation.

“The consumption of alcohol, drugs or medication is by far the most common cause of obstinate and unmanageable passengers,” Karin Müller, a spokeswoman for Swiss International Air Lines, declared.

Helvetic Airlines and Edelweiss also reported problems, with passengers ignoring safety instructions, arguing with flight attendants, smoking in lavatories or drinking alcohol they had brought aboard.

I demand to see the captain!

  • In December, the pilot of a passenger jet destined for Zurich made an unscheduled stop at Stuttgart airport because a Swiss woman had become aggressive after being denied Champagne. German police said the 44-year-old business class passenger was furious and desperate for more Champagne on a flight from Moscow. Cabin crew were unable to calm her. The woman was escorted off the Airbus A320 and ordered to pay EUR 5000 (about AUD 7900).

That, at least, had an amusing side and did not involve physical violence.


In other incidents around the world in the past week or two:

  • A plane heading to Dallas from Fort Lauderdale was forced to make an emergency landing after a 24-year-old man from Texas leapt out of his seat shouting “the plane is going the wrong way!” and “there are no pilots on the plane!”

“The plane has been hijacked!” Colby Isaac Hilleary is then said to have shouted, before allegedly going berserk and punching a flight attendant.  He faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in a US federal prison.

  • Panic broke out on an EgyptAir flight carrying 78 passengers after an “agitated” passenger is alleged to have assaulted crew and tried to storm the cockpit. The aircraft, flying from Oman’s capital Muscat to Cairo in Egypt, returned to Muscat, where the passenger was handed over to police.

No way to fly

  • An Alaska Airlines flight had to turn back after a passenger stripped naked mid-flight, barricaded himself in one of the plane’s toilets and refused to come out. The captain returned the flight to Anchorage where the naked man was hauled out of the lavatory and off the plane. The early morning flight took off again for Seattle and landed safely about five hours behind schedule.
  • In the latest case of gross in-flight behaviour, airport and police authorities detained an allegedly aggressive man said to have removed all his clothing during an international flight and performed a number of bizarre and offensive actions.

The Bangladeshi man, reportedly a university student, allegedly stripped naked, urinated on his seat, masturbated while watching porn on a personal electronic device and attacked a female flight attendant who asked him to put his clothes back on. See: Disruptive naked man’s grotesque in-flight behaviour

Written by Peter Needham

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