The skies are becoming an angrier and more inebriated place: Bloomberg reports that between 2007 and 2011, the number of reported incidents of unruly passengers increased twelvefold from 500 to 6,000 — mostly because fliers have had too much to drink.
The incidents range from frustrations over their seats to brawls with flight attendants and between passengers, but the majority of cases are related to drunkenness, according to trade organization the International Air Transport Association (IATA). The use of drugs or cigarettes and refusal to comply with safety instructions are also regularly reported.
In June, a large group of high school students was kicked off of a AirTran flight from New York to Atlanta after the crew grew frustrated with the kids use of cell phones and failure to sit. On Wednesday Ralph Lauren’s niece was arrested for drunken misdeeds on a trans-Atlantic flight that led the 41-year-old to push a Delta Airlines.
According to Bloomberg, the IATA has come up with new rules on passenger behavior to ease punishments under national laws. An official said crew members should not have to deal with drunken lawbreakers. “We don’t think they should be placed in a position where they’re a police force in the sky,” said Tim Colehan, IATA’s assistant director for external affairs.