Vapes spark surge in air rage

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Vaping is driving a surge in the number of passengers causing disruption on flights, new figures show.

The rate of incidents involving unruly travellers rose by nearly a third last year compared with 2022, according to global airline body the International Air Transport Association (Iata).

Causes of air rage often involve passengers not complying with flight rules, verbally abusing crew, or being drunk.

Iata reported that passengers using vapes – a type of e-cigarette – in an aircraft cabin or toilet is among the most common example of non-compliance with regulations.

Other common issues include a failure to fasten seatbelts when instructed, failing to store baggage when required, and consuming alcohol taken on board.

The increase came as air rage was expected to decline with the axing of rules around mask-wearing.

Iata deputy director-general Conrad Clifford said: “The increasing trend of unruly passenger incidents is worrying.

“Passengers and crew are entitled to a safe and hassle-free experience on board. For that, passengers must comply with crew instructions.

“While our professional crews are well trained to manage unruly passenger scenarios, it is unacceptable that rules in place for everyone’s safety are disobeyed by a small but persistent minority of passengers.

“There is no excuse for not following the instructions of the crew.”

Iata is calling for more countries to prosecute passengers for causing disorder on flights regardless of where a plane has departed from.

Mr Clifford added: “For the sake of the majority, we make no apology for seeking to crack down on the bad behaviour of a tiny number of travellers who can make a flight very uncomfortable for everyone else.”

Balvinder Bir, national officer for civil aviation at union Unite, said: “Sadly this report will ring all too true with Unite’s members in aviation.

“Before the pandemic there was a major problem with unruly and abusive passengers on planes, and the problem certainly hasn’t improved as the industry returns to normal.”

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