Disruptive passenger behaviour is one of the main reasons for aircraft diversions. Disruptive behaviour in-flight or on the ground can affect your safety and the safety of fellow passengers. Besides safety implications, it can have serious consequences, including civil prosecution. Airlines have a right to refuse to carry passengers that they consider to be a potential risk to the safety of the aircraft, its crew or its passengers.
2016 saw the highest number of disruptive passenger reports for the past five years. There were 418 flights in 2016 that had one or more disruptive passengers. This is more than double the number of reports seen last year; in part this is due to more rigorous reporting and a zero tolerance approach to disruptive behaviour.
The punishment for disruption varies depending on the severity. Acts of drunkenness on an aircraft face a maximum fine of £5,000 and two years in prison. The prison sentence for endangering the safety of an aircraft is up to five years. Disruptive passengers may also be asked to reimburse the airline with the cost of the diversion. Diversion costs typically range from £10,000 - £80,000 depending on the size of the aircraft and where it diverts to.
We are working with airlines, airports and the Department for Transport to identify and develop new strategies that can minimise the frequency of these occurrences.
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