Coronavirus leads to increase in number of incidents on planes
New travel rules implemented as a result of the coronavirus pandemic - for example passengers being required to wear a facemask throughout the duration of their journey - have resulted in an increase in the number of violent and aggressive incidents on planes.
Violent and aggressive passengers on Dutch planes
Airline staff have noted a sharp rise in the number of cases of aggressive and violent passengers over the past few months, the Association of Dutch Cabin Crew (VNC) has reported.
So far in 2021, there have already been 1.000 reports of incidents on planes in the Netherlands alone, marking a 20 percent increase on last year. "Usually it is verbal abuse. Sometimes it involves spitting and hitting, or there are fights,” said Ingrid Brama, a flight attendant and board member for the VNC. Brama also explained that alcohol is involved in most incidents.
Aeroplane passengers and face masks
The VNC noted that now many issues arise amongst passengers who refuse to wear a face mask. Airline rules currently state that, unless eating or drinking, passengers must wear a face mask at all times.
Brama said that problematic passengers are first presented with a warning, as staff outline the (potential) consequences of their actions: “If they find out they can be arrested in the country of arrival, they often calm down, because the sentences are not lenient in many countries." In more serious cases, passengers who mistreat staff can eventually be blacklisted from specific airlines for up to five years.