Data Shows Incidents Of Unruly Airline Passengers Trending Upwards

Date Shows Incidents Of Unruly Airline Passengers Trending Upwards

According to analysis from the International Air Transport Association (IATA), reported unruly passenger incidents increased in 2022 from 2021 numbers.

2021 saw an average of one unruly passenger incident per 835 flights, while this year there has been an uptick to one unruly passenger incident per 568 flights. That is an increase of nearly 32 percent, a staggering number causing much consternation.

The report further broke down the types of unruly passenger incidents into three major categories, non-compliance, verbal abuse and intoxication.

In 2021, non-compliance incidents were at 22.4% and the number grew to 30.7% in 2022. Verbal abuse was at 13.7% of reported incidents in 2021, while in 2022 it grew to 22%. Lastly, intoxication was reported at 10.5% in 2021, this also grew to 16.6% in 2022.

Some examples of non-compliant incidents include failing to put on seatbelts, passengers smoking in the cabin or lavatories and consuming alcohol brought onboard.

One of the more eye-opening statistics came regarding reports of physical abuse. In 2023, they occurred once every 17,200 flights, a jump of 61% from 2021.

As mask mandates were lifted, non-compliance violations reported declined but reported incidents grew 37 percent.

IATA Deputy Director General Conrad Clifford shared that the increase is worrying and both passengers and crew are entitled to “a safe and hassle-free experience on board.” For such to happen, passengers must comply with crew instructions and follow all regulations.

Clifford further explains that there is “no excuse for not following the instructions of the crew” and that crew members are well-trained to manage unruly passenger scenarios. It is the minority of unruly passengers putting others safety at risk due to their disobedience.

To help ensure safe passage for all travelers, IATA has developed a two-pillar strategy and zero-tolerance. To combat the rise in reported passenger incidents, officials are pushing for more government regulations.