A BBC investigation shows that nine out of ten cabin crew are worried about air rage. Is air rage simply media hype or do f/as really have concern and do they have cause for concern?
personally i think f/as should be treated with respect and I think more could e done, although im wary of totally banning drink on flights-the minority shouldnt spoil it for the rest of us?
i wonder what you all think.....
Controlling cabin fever(from bbc news online
Nine out of ten cabin crew surveyed for the new BBC current affairs programme 4x4 said they felt air rage was puting lives at risk. BBC News Online's Bella Hurrell looks at who should tackle "passenger misconduct".
You are sipping a complimentary gin and tonic with your knees wedged tightly against the seat in front. Suddenly you become aware of a disturbance. A drunk male passenger is wrestling with a flight attendant. What do you do? Leap in to help? Or shrink in your seat?
A similar choice presented itself to Roger Fuller on a flight to Tenerife five years ago.
AIR RAGE 2000-2001: UK FIGURES
595 classified as significant
63 classified as serious
28 cases restraints used
13 cases flight diverted
Mr Fuller, a police officer, stepped in and overpowered an aggressive passenger who was abusing the cabin crew. But the plane carried no handcuffs or restraints and he was forced to hold the man down for more than an hour until the flight reached its destination.
"It was very physically and mentally draining," he said.
As a result of his experiences Mr Fuller spent three years developing a device that could be used on a plane to restrain an angry attacker.
"The Hugger" is a harness that can be looped over the shoulders and pulled tight without harming the aggressor. Two airlines are testing the device to see if it is useful.
Mr Fuller says his invention is easier and safer to use than handcuffs. He also says that not only should all planes be equipped with some kind of restraints, but also all cabin crew should be trained in defusing conflict.
Dealing with difficult people
But, according to aviation staff unions, not all airlines are making an effort to tackle the problem of air rage.
The International Workers' Federation, which represents air crews says that only half of airlines have a policy to tackle air rage - and two thirds do not provide any training for cabin crew in how to deal with disruptive passengers.
The US Flight Attendants Association says airlines have "failed to promote safety over profits" and "failed to adopt essential crew training guidelines".
78% incidents involved male passengers
66% offenders in 20s and 30s
95% incidents in economy class
11% cases involved violence
43% involved alcohol
33% involved desire to smoke
In the UK the situation is a little better, according to Dave Kelly of the union Cabin Crew 89/AEEU. He says some of the big airlines leading the way in air rage training, but for the smaller airlines it is less of a priority.
"It would be really good if they did more."
"Cabin crew are not trained to be policemen. It's just not that sort of job. They are trained to look after people. Airlines have to put the proper training in place."
Waving the yellow card
One airline proud of its record is British Airways. It has seen a slight decline it its own number of air rage incidents from 266 in 1997-8 to 232 in 1999-2000.
We've done an awful lot to prevent it," said a BA spokesperson, "and this is probably borne out in the figures.
"All our staff are trained to defuse situations using verbal reasoning and body language."
The airline has introduced a "yellow card" procedure where a disruptive passenger is handed a written warning. BA also says that all its planes carry cuff restraints - only used as an "extreme last measure".
Government statistics show that the number of air rage incidents on UK airlines increased 10% in the past year to 1,250. But the number of serious incidents at 63, had declined slightly since the previous year.
However in the US, union ALPA says that official statistics do not always tell the whole story. It says that some staff have been discouraged from reporting incidents in case it puts off customers.
Passengers to the rescue?
When tempers fray at 30,000 ft passengers have frequently helped to save the day - but some airlines could actually be counting on you to get involved.
"The trouble is there is a lot of airlines that rely on passengers being on board like myself, which I feel is very dangerous," says Mr Fuller.
"They have a duty of care and they've got to look after people. I think one day there's going to be a situation where no-one will help them out - I was the only guy on that plane [in 1996] that did."
It is unlikely anyone would refuse a plea from a crew member who was being overwhelmed by an aggressive passenger.
However, involving members of the public, who are unlikely to be trained in how to safely restrain angry people, can have tragic consequences.
Last year 19-year-old Jonathan Burton was killed by fellow airline passengers when he went berserk on a Southwest airlines flight from Las Vegas to Salt Lake City.
Burton terrified everyone on board the flight when he became aggressive and attempted to break into the cockpit. Eyewitnesses reported he was fighting off several male passengers who were kicking and punching him.
Eventually the passengers succeeded in subduing him.
But after the plane landed Burton was found to be dead. A post mortem revealed his death had been caused by suffocation.
"The guy was pounded pretty good," said passenger Dean Harvey on US TV.
"There was no policy - no procedures. [The flight attendant] said we were counting on the passengers to get involved here."