The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) says it has already received more than 200 incident reports about disruptive passengers from UK airlines in 2018 and is calling for a crack down on rowdy and drunk passengers.
Recent media reports have covered incidents on airlines including this report on the Daily Mail website when a Ryanair flight to Tenerife was forced to turn back to Manchester due to a drunken passenger.
The CAA said the latest figures mirror previous years, which have seen over 400 incidents reported for each full year, many involving acts of violent and intimidating behaviour.
In 2013 the number of reports the CAA received was only 98, increasing to 145 in 2014, to 195 in 2015, before doubling to 415 in 2016, then 417 in 2017 – meaning 1472 had been recorded in the last five and a half years.
The CAA said although the clear majority of passengers enjoy the experience of trouble-free flying, it is calling on airlines and enforcement agencies to make better use of laws already in place. The CAA said it will work closely with the industry and government to bring prosecutions against disruptive passengers.
CAA director, Richard Stephenson said: “Everyone wants their holiday flights to be enjoyable and trouble-free. Drunken and abusive behaviour on an aeroplane is totally unacceptable. Not only does it upset everyone else, but it can also jeopardise flight safety.
“Criminal charges should be brought against offenders more often to act as a deterrent – passengers need to know they will face the full weight of the law should they be found guilty of disorderly behaviour.”
Offenders can be jailed for up to five years for endangering the safety of an aircraft. They can also be charged with specific offences of being drunk on board an aircraft and for acting in a disruptive manner. Smoking and failing to obey the commands of the captain are also against the law and can be punished by a fine or imprisonment.