Pilots say that the alarming trend is due to alcohol availability and passengers feeling cramped.
The number of cases of passengers causing problems on board flights on Norway’s airlines has skyrocketed by almost ten times during the last ten years, new statistics say, with easy access to alcohol thought to be the main reason.
The Norwegian Civil Aviation Authority’s statistics, published in the newsletter of the independent trade union Parat and quoted in the national media, show that cases of passengers behaving badly increased from 14 in 2007 to 123 in 2017.
Most of the reported cases of bad behaviour involve harassment of fellow passengers and cabin crew, as well as incidents such as smoking in the toilet and refusing to comply with safety instructions.
The union believes that the trend can be linked to easy access to alcohol – plus the fact that for commercial reasons it is getting less comfortable to be a passenger on an aircraft, partly because cabins are becoming narrower.
Petter Førde, who heads the pilot association Norsk Pilotforbund, tells the newsletter that it is, in practice, the cabin crew who have to assess the situation if there are problems with passengers. And then action must be swift.
“If we are notified of a badly behaving passenger, there is only one thing to do. We go to the nearest airport. Such an unplanned landing with, for example, a Boeing 737 could soon rise to a cost of NOK 100,000 (€10,600), maybe more. That fine goes directly against the passenger.”