A British budget airline that takes holidaymakers to party spots such as Ibiza and Prague has stopped nearly 500 people from flying this year for being unruly or too intoxicated.
In a year when a number of flights have been forced to divert due to passengers’ bad behavior, Jet2 said it has handed lifetime bans to 50 travelers who were abusive or disruptive towards staff and holidaymakers.
The figures provide a startling look at how often staff have to deal with out-of-control passengers amid increasing reports of air rage and calls for alcohol consumption to be banned on flights.
It has become such a problem for Leeds-based Jet2 that it has launched a zero-tolerance campaign with severe penalties for those who don’t behave.
The airline said the number of passengers stopped from flying in 2015 is a ‘substantial’ increase from previous years.
Jet2 has suffered a number of frustrating and costly diversions this year while flying British tourists to all-inclusive destinations such as Spain and Portugal.
In October, a 34-year-old passenger, Peter Vincent, was fined £950 after he was found guilty of singing loudly, using foul and offensive language, and threatening a senior crew member on a flight from Prague to Glasgow.
Vincent, who was escorted off the plane by police when it landed in Glasgow, was also banned from Jet2 flights for life.
A month earlier, a flight from Glasgow to Tenerife diverted to Faro, Portugal, over alleged ‘disruptive behavior’ by 14 men, who were kicked off the flight.
The plane diverted after a flight attendant found a bag containing a white substance. The men claimed staff overreacted to an on-board prank involving a bag of salt.
Figures from the Civil Aviation Authority show that the number of disruptive incidents – including bomb threats, smoking in toilets and a passenger who activated the emergency exit slide – has tripled in the last three years.
Under tougher rules Jet2 has threatened to send a £3,500 bill and pursue legal action against passengers whose behavior results in a diversion.
Airlines have written to Aviation Minister Robert Goodwill for help in dealing with – and punishing – disruptive passengers.
New measures could include limiting the number of drinks at airport bars and gate staff having the responsibility to weed out 'floozers' - an industry term for intoxicated passengers.
Alcohol sold on board flights to hotspots renowned for stag parties could also be limited.
Jet2 managing director Phil Ward has also called for tamper-proof duty-free bags to become mandatory at UK airports.
He told the Yorkshire Post: ‘There ave been more than 450 passengers refused travel due to unacceptable behavior since January this year and we have given 50 of these lifetime bans.
‘This is a substantial increase from previous years and, as such, we are consulting with government bodies and MPs to support the rollout of our Onboard Together initiative to stamp out disruptive behavior across the industry.
‘We are encouraging all organisations that are negatively affected by disruptive passengers on flights to support Onboard Together as a consistent, cross-industry campaign to educate and inform passengers and help improve behavior.’
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