Airlines seek new rules to handle unruly travellers

2013-12-17 09:23
Video

Airline pulls amazing Christmas stunt on passengers

2013-12-13 15:35

If somebody asks you what a you want for Christmas - this video shows you shouldn't be afraid to ask. WATCH

Geneva - Fighting soccer fans, fashion models screaming obscenities and a French film star relieving himself in the gangway are just a few well publicised examples of what airlines say is a growing trend of abusive passenger behaviour on planes.

Briefing journalists this week, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said it aims to use a conference in Montreal next March to seek agreement on the rights of crews and captains to do whatever is necessary to subdue offenders.

"Unruly passenger behaviour...is on the increase," Tim Colehan of the Geneva-based grouping told reporters. " It is a problem which our crews and other travellers face every day."

He cited as typical a woman passenger who fought cabin crew after throwing liquor at them, and then shouted abuse at stewards and fellow passengers throughout an overnight flight from Europe to Thailand.

Since 2007, when it began recording data, well over 15 000 incidents have been reported to IATA, Colehan said. "But there are almost certainly many more which we never hear about."

The problem for the airlines and the crews, said Colehan, is that international law has not caught up with the new world of global air travel.

Often offenders, like the violent woman passenger on the Bangkok flight, go scot free because police in countries where planes land say they have no jurisdiction.

Lack of Clarity

Worse, IATA says, the lack of clarity in the current 1963 Tokyo Convention that governs such cases leaves cabin crew and pilots uncertain on how to respond.

"There is always the fear that they could be sued for assault if they restrain a violent passenger," Colehan said.

Other incidents in the skies this year include a violent attack on a stewardess in China, an American viewing pornography on his computer, and a South African couple having First Class sex, according to credible media reports.

A Russian woman on a flight from Los Angeles to London drank liquid soap when refused alcohol, and tried to bite a steward. On another plane a man seized wine from a trolley and locked himself in the toilet to drink it.

Several years ago, IATA told its 240-odd members - which include almost all the world's scheduled carriers - that they should back their crews and try to ensure that badly behaved passengers are taken to court.

But the absence of well defined legislation means that this often leads nowhere. The Tokyo convention was originally drawn up to deal with hijacks.

IATA wants governments to agree at the March conference, convened by the International Civil Aviation Organization, on a new convention that will spell out the right of an airliner's captain to do what he feels necessary to control misbehaving passengers.

But the airlines are not sure of the outcome. "We are confident there will be a new convention, but - with so many governments having to agree - we have to wait to see how it turns out," Colehan said.

Read more on:    flights  |  airlines  |  travel international

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

SHARE:

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
2 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside Travel

 
/News

#FindYourEscape with Traveller24

Your insider guide to exploring South Africa and the world...
 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.