Business Travel: Measuring the turbulence
DESIGN IN BRITAIN: How bad a problem is air rage? New data means a clearer picture will soon emerge.
Tuesday 09 November 1999
This year, a new offence was created in this country of "acting in a disruptive manner". This covers everything from using abusive or threatening language, to behaving in an abusive or threatening manner to a member of the crew, and can attract a fine of pounds 2,000 or a two-year jail sentence for anyone found guilty of an offence. Before 1 September, when this new legislation came into effect, the only punishable actions were those that endangered a plane's safety, such as smoking in the toilets, being drunk, or using a mobile phone on board. As a result of this new law, the number of cases officially classified as air rage will increase substantially.
Until April this year, the Civil Aviation Authority only recorded air rage on UK planes that resulted in arrest or restraint. Figures from the last six years are fairly static, at just under a hundred a year. The American Federal Aviation Authority, however, has seen its annual figures increase: from 125 in 1995, to 173 incidents already being reported by the end of August. Whether this is because the problem is increasing, or because of the higher profile that air rage is now attracting in North America, is not clear.
Although, overall, more incidents occur in economy, anecdotal evidence would seem to suggest that, proportionately, they are just as likely, if not more so, to happen in business or first. Up to now it has been difficult to be scientific about the statistics. That is soon set to change, and a much clearer picture of the scale of the problem should start to emerge. Since April, a new scheme has been implemented, which requires cabin crew to fill in a full-page report on every incident, however minor, on British planes. The CAA is about to start looking at the figures for the first six months, and is planning to publish them early next year. Analysis should show how these incidents break down in terms of class of ticket, frequency on charters in comparison with scheduled flights, and when during the flight they are most likely to occur.
This in turn should help pinpoint the possible causes of the problem. It will be necessary first to distinguish between passengers who cause offence, and those with a genuine complaint at the level of service that they are receiving. Many people - including some of their own staff - believe that often the airlines have only themselves to blame: if they provided a more efficient service, faster check-in, better provision for overhead luggage and so on, then passengers would have less cause to be angry. But poor service alone is not a reason for a passenger to become disruptive. Professor Helen Muir, of the College of Aeronautics at Cranfield University has written a paper on the factors that contribute to disruptive behaviour. She identifies alcohol, stress, fear of flying, and concentrations of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the cabin environment as some of the reasons why passengers behave in an unruly fashion.
In introducing this year's new legislation, the government has committed itself to taking firm action to deal with air rage. Further measures are likely to be introduced after the CAA's statistics are published. The International Airline Passengers' Association is keen to see problem passengers identified and denied the right to board a plane, a measure supported by BALPA, the pilots' association. The pilots also call for loss of air miles and other privileges, and would like to see closer co-operation between the different airlines in dealing with the problem.
When incidents do happen, there is good co-ordination at our own airports between the airlines and the police authorities. But the CAA is calling for a less insular approach. Britain, already ahead of the United States in the seriousness with which it treats air rage, is leading a push to bring in more cross-border measures. Since air rage is a global problem, it may be time to acknowledge that the only really effective way to deal with it is by airlines, international governments and police forces working together so that everyone can benefit from the lessons that are being learned.
- 1 Woman 'suffocates newborn baby in plastic bag and puts it in her desk minutes after giving birth'
- 2 I've been called an abusive and dangerous parent, when all I did was listen to my transgender child
- 3 Company breaks open Apple Watch to discover what it says is 'planned obsolescence'
- 4 Teaching profession headed for crisis as numbers continue to drop and working lives become 'unbearable'
- 5 Chinese student carries disabled friend to school every day for three years
Nepal earthquake in pictures: Photos show devastation caused by 7.8 magnitude earthquake
Royal baby: Live updates as superbug closes ward at St Mary's Hospital in London where Duchess of Cambridge is due to give birth
Nepal earthquake: Rescuers forced to dig with their bare hands in search for survivors as images show damage to historic buildings
Ed Miliband and Boris Johnson in angry clash live on BBC's Andrew Marr Show
Bali Nine executions: British grandmother on death row in Indonesia Lindsay Sandiford says she 'just wants to get it over with'
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Migrant boat disaster: Ukip candidate mocks victims in sickening Twitter post
Nigel Farage wants the BBC to stop making programmes like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, and Top Gear
Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris
General Election 2015: Britain would become a 'communist dictatorship' under Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon, claims wife of Michael Gove
iJobs Money & Business
£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...
£50000 - £55000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Business Analyst - Financial Service...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: At SThree, we like to be differe...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + competitive: SThree: Did you know? SThree is the o...