Passengers Back ‘No Boozing When You Should Be Snoozing’ Rule As Airlines Tackle Increase In Air Rag
The majority of holidaymakers back plans to clamp down on passengers drinking alcohol before and during early morning flights in a bid to curb air rage, reveals research from World Travel Market London released today (Monday 7 November) at the event.
The report reveals more than a quarter of people (27%) have experienced a disruptive passenger on a flight and almost three quarters (73%) agreed with the recent decision by airline Jet2.com to ban the sale of alcohol on board in the mornings. Only one in ten said they disagreed with Jet2.com’s policy on not selling alcohol before 8am.
The issue of alcohol on flights and air rage is becoming increasingly concerning, with the number of ‘dangerous’ in-flight incidents on UK airlines rising fourfold in three years, according to the Civil Aviation Authority. The CAA says UK airlines reported 85 air rage incidents in 2013, but the figure soared to 386 last year.
Figures from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) also show air rage is a global problem. Last year there were more than 10,854 incidents worldwide, equating to one incident for every 1,205 flights. The previous year, there were 9,316 incidents.
A significant proportion (11%) involved 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 these were consumed prior to boarding or from personal supply without knowledge of the crew, said IATA.
IATA director general Alexandre de Juniac has described air rage as: “simply not acceptable”. “The increase in reported incidents tells us that more effective deterrents are needed. But we cannot do it alone,” he said.
IATA’s concern is echoed by Jet2.com Managing Director Phil Ward, who says ‘pre-loading’ is the issue and wants airports and retailers to clamp down on pre-flight alcohol sales. Jet2.com is calling for fully-sealed bags for alcohol purchased in airports, which it has been trialling at Manchester and Glasgow airports. As part of Jet2.com’s clampdown on bad behaviour, more than 500 passengers have been refused travel since 2015, with over 50 of these given lifetime bans.
Cabin crew have also had enough. In an article in The Independent in September, UK travel journalist Simon Calder said cabin crew now add ‘night club bouncer’ to the list of roles they are expected to carry out in the skies.
WTM London, Senior Director, Simon Press, said: “The reported increases of air rage are concerning and many do seem to be alcohol-related. “Most of us wouldn’t consider downing a pint of lager at 6.30am during our normal daily routine, yet at airports and on board aircraft, alcohol is so readily available and as a consequence many of us have experienced an intoxicated passenger on a flight. “Our research shows that many people are concerned about air rage and want stricter controls on pre-flight and in-flight alcohol sales.”
WTM London is the event where the travel and tourism industry conducts its business deals. Buyers from the WTM Buyers’ Club have a combined purchasing responsibility of $22.6 billion (£15.8bn) and sign deals at the event worth $3.6 billion (£2.5bn).
WTM London 2016 will be revamped as a three-day event from Monday 7 – Wednesday 9 November, with opening hours extended from 10am – 7pm for all three days.