Things are truly getting unruly in the once friendly skies. Take, for example, the events that took place on Sunday, Dec. 10 onboard a Jetblue flight from Los Angeles to New York.
According to Travelmole, shortly after JetBlue flight 1224 took off, a male passenger became irritated and started biting his fellow passengers and attempting to hit others. The attack was reportedly unprovoked and began suddenly. When doctors attempted to assist the man, he allegedly attempted to bite them as well.
Other passengers then had to restrain the man until the flight was diverted and landed safely in Las Vegas.
"I grabbed his hands behind his back and held him there while the flight attendants put the restraints on him,” a passenger identified as Tom told Travelmole. “At that point, he started yelling and tried to come towards the flight attendant, behind me, at the time. I really had a hell of a time keeping him in place there."
The passenger was immediately taken into custody when the plane landed.
While events like this are rare, they may not be as rare as you think.
According to a report released earlier this month by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), there were more than 58,000 unruly passenger incidents between 2007-2016, across four levels of disruption. Those levels, APEX explained, range from failure to comply with safety procedures and crew requirements to an attack on the flight deck.
And while there are fewer incidences overall today than there were in previous years, the events that do occur are more violent than before. As the reported noted, level two incidents, including physical assault, obscene behavior, verbal threats, harassment, or tampering with emergency or safety systems onboard, increased from 11 to 12 percent from 2015 to 2016.
What’s causing the uptick? According to Tim Coleman, IATA’s assistant director, external affairs, it all comes down to too much alcohol both before and during a flight.
“In the confines of an aircraft, [level two incidents] are difficult to manage,” Coleman said at the IATA Media Day event in Geneva. “Governments must do their part by ensuring that we have a strong deterrent. And we need airports, airport restaurants, airport bars, and duty-free providers to make sure that they are serving, promoting, and selling alcohol responsibly so we don’t have incidents of intoxication in the air.”