Jet2 is leading a call for industry-wide measures to tackle disruptive passenger behaviour, after reporting a stark increase in the number of incidents compared to last year.
Managing director of the airline, Phil Ward, said a conference call with the British Air Transport Association (Bata) took place last week on the issue, with all UK carriers
Ward added that Jet2 and other airlines had written to the Secretary of State for Transport urging more decisive action from the government to help them enforce new policies to help “stamp out” disruptive behaviour
The airline said its cabin crew increasingly deal with people displaying abusive, racist and often noisy and aggressive conduct, “causing misery and disruption for other passengers nearby”.
In May a Jet2 flight to Alicante from Leeds Bradford was forced to divert to Toulouse due to a passenger's "unacceptable behaviour".
Ward said between spring 2014 and 2015 the company – which runs 200 flights per day – has seen a 20% increase in reported disruptive behaviour on board, often linked to excessive alcohol consumption.
Ward pointed to groups of young people “having a beer in their hand” as soon as they get to the airport, no matter how early in the morning, as a contributing factor.
“There is also a big issue with people drinking their own miniature bottles of alcohol, which they buy in duty-free, on the aircraft,” he said.
“That is actually illegal. We are not just talking about stag dos and hen parties either, or even specific age groups.
“Passengers need to realise that an aeroplane is not a nightclub. You can’t just step out for some fresh air. We need to stamp this out.”
As well as Bata, Jet2 is also working closely with other holiday companies, the Airport Operators Association (AOA) as well as the airports, to put in place a series comprehensive measures to tackle disruptive conduct.
Ward continued: “We are a family airline and holiday company carrying millions of passengers every year.
“These are people who have chosen to take their well-earned summer breaks with us and we want them to have a wonderful time.
“Therefore, under no circumstances will we allow the disruptive few to spoil the experience for the majority of the fantastic customers that fly with us.”
Jet2 has already put in place a series of measures under its ‘Onboard Together’ programme, to educate passengers about the effects of alcohol at high altitude, and to outline its policies.
Measures include banning disruptive passengers for life, handing them over to the police, issuing a bill for the cost of the diversion and taking legal action, post travel.
“By far and away the majority of the travelling public are decent people wanting to have a great holiday,” said Ward.
Nathan Stower, Bata chief executive, said: “Thankfully disruptive behaviour is rare, but our members are not prepared for a small minority of passengers to put the wellbeing and safety of their other customers and crew at risk.
“With the busy the summer season upon us, we want passengers to understand that disruptive behaviour onboard on board an aircraft is illegal and can result in heavy fines and prison sentences.
“We are determined to find ways to tackle this problem with the help of airports, the police, the CAA, the government and the public because airlines cannot do this on their own.”
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