According to data obtained from IATA, airlines are finding it hard to stop instances of aggressive behavior and sexual harassment in the cabin. Within the last year, there were 350 cases of these kinds of incidents reported by IATA. In the vast majority of cases, there was no punitive action taken.
Within the last year alone, there were 350 cases of a wide range of inappropriate behaviors – including touching as well as occurrences of homophobic, racist and even ageist outbursts – on flights. The outlet reports that, only in 178 cases did police or security staff intervene and out of that figure, only 17 passengers were removed from planes as a result of these kinds of incidents. In the remaining 141 cases, passengers were only issued a warning.
The data from IATA also appears to indicate that the excessive consumption of alcohol is a factor in this kind of aggressive behavior. The figures given by IATA, reports the outlet, are “the first collated on so-called hate crimes on aircraft.”
Speaking to the outlet, Tim Colehan, assistant director of external affairs at IATA, stated that many members of cabin crew now receive training that will enable them to monitor the amount of alcohol consumed by passengers. He also added that many are now trained to calm and deescalate instances of aggressive behavior as and when they arise.
However, commenting on the figures obtained from IATA, Colehan stated that “there should be zero tolerance to this.”
But he also added that these kinds of incidents require “people to be willing to report to crew and sometimes for there to be witnesses. And if a country doesn’t have the jurisdiction to intervene, the accused will just be released.”