Extreme misbehavior by unruly passengers, often called "air rage," can lead to anxious moments in the air and puts crew members and passengers at risk. While "unruly" passengers have been a problem within the airline industry for many years, they are just now coming to the attention of the public, the press and States.
The AAPA not only periodically exchanges security incident information of passenger rage in the air but also on ground. AAPA usually reports such incidents in three different categories: Violent, unruly and disruptive.
The challenge faced by industry to address the issue of unruly/disruptive passengers is the unavailability of legal action due largely to the issue of legal jurisdiction. Many States’ legal systems do not include jurisdiction to charge a person for an offence, which has not taken place within its own territory. This means that it is often impossible to lay charges against the offender, if an offence has taken place in a State that is not the State of arrival and on an aircraft that is not registered in the State of arrival.
Furthermore, even if there are legislations available to prosecute, many crews prefer not to pursue the case further – mainly to avoid having to appear before the court for lengthy legal proceedings. Crews are also hesitant merely by the fact that the administrative process of making reports and having to be interrogated after a long-haul flight are not appealing.
Effort is underway by the AAPA to develop a best practice document taking into account members’ collective procedures to address unruly passengers. The AAPA is actively of engaging States to encourage more legislative guidance.
In addition, AAPA, together with IATA and other regional airline associations have agreed upon a joint position paper calling for states to ratify the Montreal Protocol 2014. This protocol aims to deter unruly passenger incidents and promote a safer air travel experience for all by giving States the tools needed to deal with unruly passengers whilst preserving prosecutional discretion.