Letter: Safety in the skies

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The Independent Culture
Sir: I have misgivings that the proposed new law to fight air rage (report, 27 July) may be another instance of over-reaction.

Of course nobody wants rowdyism or fights on board an aircraft, but nor do we want it on a train, coach or bus. However, the physical danger to the aircraft is exaggerated: it would take extreme behaviour (and much more than a fist) to break a window and it is, I understand, impossible to open the doors during flight.

In the old days when smoking was permitted on aircraft, the order to stop smoking, stow tables and return seats to upright was given some five minutes before touchdown. Today it tends to be given the moment the pilot begins his descent from 30,000 feet, often half an hour before touchdown.

When I asked recently why it was necessary for me to stop reclining at so early a stage, my airhostess snapped back that it was company policy and if I didn't like it I could write to the airline. Your report suggests that my perfectly reasonable question will in future be termed an "anti- social activity that hampers staff" and I will find myself being prosecuted.


London SE27