Aviation minister Baroness Sugg is supporting an aviation industry campaign to raise awareness of the need for customers to ‘fly responsibly’ following increasing reports of disruptive passengers onboard flights.
The One Too Many campaign has been launched by Baroness Sugg, travel retailers, airports and airlines. It aims to remind passengers of the risks of excessive drinking when travelling by air.
Risks outlined by the industry include denial of boarding and having a plane diverted to remove disruptive passengers – which can result in heavy fines, up to two years in prison, an airline ban and a diversion fee of up to £80,000 for serious in-flight incidents.
The campaign is launched on the UK’s busiest single day for flights departing the UK, with 8,841 flights set to take families to their holiday destinations.
It comes after a rising number of incidents committed by drunk or unruly passengers. According to the Civil Aviation Authority, 418 UK flights had one or more disruptive passengers – more than double the numbers from 2015.
A BBC Panorama investigation found incidents had increased by 50 per cent year on year, with 387 arrests in the 12 months leading up to February 2017.
Ryanair joined other airlines in a call for the Home Office to introduce a two-drink limit at airports to avoid passengers drinking too much before boarding, but no action has been taken as of yet.
The One Too Many campaign will be rolled out across social media and in nine UK airports, with Manchester Airports Group (MAG), AGS Airports, Bristol, Birmingham and Gatwick all signed up to participate.
The airports will work with airlines and other stakeholders to promote the campaign across digital screen signage, point of sale displays, food and beverage retailer notices and a dedicated police leaflet.
The campaign builds on the UK Aviation Industry Code of Practice on Disruptive Passengers and brings together the UK Travel Retail Forum, the Airports Operators Association, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and Airlines UK.
Francois Bourienne, chair of the UK Travel Retail Forum, said: “It is an offence to be drunk on a plane. Not least to other passengers. The One Too Many campaign is to remind people of the consequences of irresponsible drinking at any stage of their journey and to highlight the fact that, while serious disruptive behaviour remains rare, it can be costly and cause delays. Other passengers become upset and a lot of holidays are ruined.”
Rafael Schvartzman, regional vice president for Europe at IATA, commented: “While we should remember that disruptive passenger incidents are still relatively rare, they rank in the top three concerns of cabin crew, and any incident is one too many. Airlines have a zero-tolerance approach to unruly behaviour and cabin crew and passengers have a right to a flight free from disturbance and harassment.”
Aviation minister Baroness Sugg added: “Disruptive passengers have the potential to ruin other people’s flights, and this campaign is an important new step to ensure all passengers are aware of the consequences they face if they behave disruptively after drinking before or on board a flight. I am pleased to see the industry come together to ensure the experiences at our airports and on flights remain positive for everyone.”