DALLAS – Today, an Air India (AI) flight bound for London Heathrow Airport (LHR) had to turn back to Delhi Airport (DEL) after a passenger assaulted two flight attendants mid-flight. The assault is not an uncommon occurrence.
We can recall an unrestrained inflight behavior that occurred when a drunken passenger urinated on a co-passenger during a trip from New York (EWR) to Delhi (DEL) in November last year. A situation that caused widespread anger and calls for stringent action against such behavior.
Last month, a no-fly list for unruly passengers was once again being floated by a bipartisan, bicameral group in the US Congress. In an effort to reduce the rise in violent incidents on airplanes, lawmakers introduced a bill that would establish a national list of disruptive passengers.
Today, India’s Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) instructed airlines to handle unruly passengers with strict measures. The country’s aviation watchdog has observed several instances of passengers violating basic flight safety rules, ranging from smoking and unruly behavior caused by alcohol consumption to physical altercations and sexual harassment on board flights.
These incidents can potentially jeopardize the safety of aircraft operations, and, at least in India, the DGCA alleges that pilots and cabin crew members have failed to take appropriate action.
Statement from the DGCA
As a result of the recent in-flight assaults, the DGCA issued a statement urging airlines to enforce strict measures to ensure the safety of their flights and passengers. The regulator also instructed airlines to remind their pilots and cabin crew to periodically familiarize themselves with rules on handling unruly passengers.
The DGCA sent out a reminder to pilots and cabin crew, listing key points of the civil aviation rules that address managing disorderly passengers and behavior that could compromise flight safety. Certain behaviors, such as consuming alcohol or drugs, smoking, not obeying the pilot, and making physical threats, can result in arrest upon arrival.
The statement comes after an AI flight to London circled back to Delhi when a passenger allegedly assaulted two cabin crew members, prompting the pilot to turn the plane back while flying near Peshawar in Pakistan. The family members of Jaskirat have stated that he was mentally unstable.
Will informing passengers that unruly behavior during flights will be met with arrests change the situation? Be sure to comment on our social media channels.
Feature Image: Air India Boeing 787-8 (VT-ANP). Photo: Christian Winter/Airways