number of incidents where passengers are exhibiting disruptive or dangerous
behaviour is increasing. According to official UK statistics the numbers
have risen by 10 per cent between 1999/2000 and 2000/2001 to a total of
over twelve hundred incidents. This has been the cause of considerable
concern to airlines, aviation organisations and governments. Almost half
the incidents involve alcohol. The condition is also aggravated by the
stress levels brought about by the cabin environment (see section on Stress).
Prevention : Passengers
should be educated particularly on the effects of a drink or drugs at
altitude. One drink in the aircraft cabin can be the equivalent of two
in a normal environment. The same applies to tranquillisers, cabin pressurisation
increase their potency.
The consequences to
passengers involved in air rage are severe. In the United States the Federal
Aviation Authority are able to levy fines of up to 25,000 US dollars.
Putting the crew and passengers at risk is also a criminal offence in
both the UK and the USA. The perpetrators of such incidents have recently
been given custodial sentences in the UK.