There are several reasons why a flight might get delayed or diverted. Typically, the list of reasons includes technical errors, a glitch in the computer system, ATC strikes, or uncontrollable circumstances such as bad weather.
However, there are other odd reasons that contribute to flight disruptions. One of those reasons is a disruptive passenger. Yes, passengers are to be blamed for a flight not taking off as per schedule. In fact, some airlines tend to face this particular issue more than others. RyanAir is one such airline.
In a recent survey, it was found that one in six RyanAir passengers experienced in-flight disruption caused by a fellow passenger. This evidently influences the other travellers’ flight delay compensation.
In a survey involving around 7,900 respondents. 17% of flyers who had flown by airline in 2018 reported that they had experienced some form of passenger disruption, often involving verbal abuse, obnoxiousness, and drunkenness, etc.
Following RyanAir were airlines such as Thomas Cook, TUI, and EasyJet, with 15%, 14%, and 13% of passengers reporting “air rage,” respectively.
One such incident, on involving an unnamed carried, involved a stag party from Newcastle setting fire to the seat covers while flying to Alicante. Other incidents included people engaging in physical confrontations, where the passengers would even turn on cabin crew when they tried to intervene.
There was also an incident reported where an entire flight had to be diverted just to offload one unruly and violent passenger.
In the case of Norwegian and Flybe, only 5% of passengers reported unruly incidents caused by passengers, which puts the overall figure at 10%.
Cases of flight disruptions caused by passengers are supposed to be reported to the CAA (Civil Aviation Authority). According to one aviation research firm, the figures for passenger-caused disruptions published by the CAA for the period 2012-2016 indicates one incident for every two days.
However, that number went up in 2017 and is predicted to increase for 2018 as well.
Alcohol to Blame
A majority of the air-rage incidents are said to have been fuelled by drunk passenger delays. There are aviation laws in place that forbid passengers from boarding an aircraft when being intoxicated and airlines have the right to refuse entry to passengers they suspect as being intoxicated or a potential risk to safety.
RyanAir, in order to minimize such disruptions, has called for alcohol not to be served at airports before 10 AM. Michel Leary, the Chief of RyanAir, issued a statement in which he mentioned that passengers were often seen drinking way more than the recommended levels, especially during holiday seasons and delays. He specifically mentioned that some would go up to 10 pints of beer.
He also added that most of them travelled in groups and would often end up being rowdy, which made it difficult for cabin crew in terms of keeping things under control.
Apparently, RyanAir serves only a drink or two on flights that average 1.15 hours. Also, the drinks are only served to passengers who haven’t displayed questionable behaviour.