Instances of air rage are on the increase, with alcohol the main cause of bad behaviour on planes, Government figures today showed.
There were 3,485 reported incidents of disruptive behaviour aboard UK aircraft in the April 2008 to March 2009 period (2008/09) - a rise on the 2007/08 figure of 2,702, the Department for Transport said.
The number of incidents classed as serious rose from 31 in 2007/08 to 44 in 2008/09, with passengers having to be restrained in some cases and planes having to make diversions.
There were serious incidents on one flight in 24,000 in 2008/09 compared with one in 35,000 flights in 2007/08.
In 2008/09, there were 796 reports of passengers arguing with crew, 983 of passengers disobeying crew and 106 of violence directed towards cabin crew.
The statistics for 2008/09 also showed:
* Alcohol was involved in 37 per cent of incidents and of these 30 per cent involved passengers drinking their own alcohol;
* Of the 44 cases classed as serious, 29 involved passengers being restrained, 13 involved aircraft having to divert;
* Police or airport security attended 20 of the serious incidents, 74 of the 240 violent incidents and 505 incidents overall;
* In 10 per cent of cases, offenders were off-loaded before departure and in 2 per cent of incidents offenders were refused return travel with the airline;
* Smoking was involved in 21 per cent of incidents, with 95 per cent of these cases involving smoking in the toilet;
* 7 per cent of incidents involved violence, with 41 per cent of them being directed towards cabin crew and 51 per cent towards passengers;
* Alcohol and conflict with other passengers were the main reasons for threatening behaviour which accounted for 17 per cent of all incidents;
* Only 18 per cent of incidents indicated the age group of the offenders, with the most common age group for on-board disruption being the 30-39 year olds;
* 37 per cent of reports indicated whether offenders were travelling in a group, family or alone. Of these reports, 53 per cent showed the disruption was caused by a passengers in a group.