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Aggressive passenger: why people go berserk in airplanes and how to protect themselves


ForumDaily Woman

Many have observed this situation: unexpectedly, one of the passengers on board the plane goes into a rage for a minor reason - from the small distance between the seats to the inappropriate temperature of the coffee served by the flight attendant. The attack can be accompanied by aggression towards people and objects around. This condition is well known in the aviation industry and is called aerial rage.

Фото: Depositphotos

Air rage, writes The Express Tribune, Is a tendency to be more aggressive on airplanes. As a rule, people around do not expect from people (and some do not expect from themselves) such an overreaction to minor inconveniences: it seems that flight still affects a person's temperament. Flight attendants complain that the number of cases of air rage is on the increase, and very little is done before flights to prevent such situations, as well as to inform passengers about the condition.

About 4000 incidents happened last year, but only a few aggressive passengers were fined, reports ABC News... According to the International Air Transport Workers' Union, only half of the airlines have policies aimed at preventing air rage. Only a third of companies conduct classes with their employees, teaching them how to handle aggressive passengers. Other airlines rely on passenger assistance.

Huffington Post explains: the majority of air rage attacks are caused by the passenger’s concern that he cannot control the situation and influence anything while in a flying airplane.

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“Anger comes when you feel a lack of control,” says Dr. Martin Seif, a psychologist specializing in fear of flying. "In fact, we never completely control anything, but in flight this feeling intensifies."

If you find yourself on a plane next to a terrible neighbor or a child who knocks on the seat, then more than ever you understand how powerless you are. Not everyone responds with bouts of aggression - but that happens. Especially if the passenger decided to cheer himself up with alcohol, increasing the already violent emotions.

In addition to problems with control in the sky, air rage may have other reasons:

  • Experts consider the use of alcohol and drugs to be the main reason for the "brutality". At high altitude, the access of oxygen to the brain decreases, the same effect is observed with the use of alcohol and drugs. Therefore, one portion of alcohol in flight in its effect is equal to two such portions on the ground. The same applies to the action of any psychotropic drug.
  • The second most important cause of "air rage" is smoking restrictions on airplanes. Lack of nicotine is frustrating for heavy smokers. 70% of all recorded incidents of air rage start with an attempt to smoke at the wrong time in the wrong place. A total ban on smoking on airplanes leads passengers to lock themselves in toilets and try to disable fire alarms. Some people throw cigarette butts directly into the toilet, forgetting that on planes it is not filled with water, but a toxic chemical mixture.
  • Experts from Cranfield University consider the lack of fresh air to be another major cause of passenger rabies. To save fuel, practically in all passenger airplanes the ventilation system is designed in such a way that the same air is fed to the cabin, which is only filtered, but not saturated with oxygen. As a result, the level of carbon dioxide in it reaches 60%.

According to a psychologist from Boston University, Tom Cottle, the plane is one of the few places where a free person is continuously told what to do and what not to do: check in your luggage, fasten your seat belts, don't get up, do not smoke. This infuriates not only economy class passengers lodging in the tail of the aircraft. First-class passengers will not tolerate any comments or instructions made by a flight attendant. They paid for the ticket a lot of money and believe that anything can be demanded for it. In addition, they are accustomed to give orders themselves, and not to obey the orders of some stewardess.

Why is it dangerous

Air rage is not just an annoying factor that creates discomfort for passengers and crew. In a confined space in the sky, an uncontrolled rage can injure others, damage the aircraft, and even crash. In addition, a person who rages in an airliner cannot be asked to leave or simply put him out - for this you need to land.

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Most often, in a fit of air rage, people attack those who are nearby, some try to destroy everything they can reach, make attempts to break into the cockpit and attack them. These actions do not necessarily indicate the attacker's terrorist plans - usually it is an attack of senseless aggression.

Portrait of a "furious" air passenger

The British Air Transport Association tried to paint a portrait of a typical airplane behavior violator: 78% of them are men, 66% of the offenders are people between the ages of 20 and 30; 95% are economy class passengers; 43% "play naughty" in a state of alcoholic intoxication; 33% expressed a desire to smoke; 11% showed physical violence. It turns out that the typical “aircraft crazy” is a tipsy guy from economy class who desperately wants to smoke.

From what it all began

The phenomenon of "air rage" first gained public attention after a high-profile incident in December 1997, says Merchant... A US Airways passenger flying from Baltimore to Los Angeles, Dean Trammel began walking down the aisle and patting passengers on the shoulders, saying, “Touch me and you will live forever. We will go to heaven together. ”

Stewardess René Schaeffer, a former nurse, immediately diagnosed acute psychosis. She did not argue with him or threaten, but simply escorted Trammela, who claimed that he was Jesus Christ, in the back kitchen compartment, away from the rest of the passengers who began to loudly complain about the behavior of a madman. She spoke softly to him and seemed to be able to calm him down. He closed his eyes, knelt, and began to pray quietly.

Suddenly he jumped up and declared: “I must bless the pilots. I have to give them a message. ” Despite Schaeffer's persuasion, the newly minted Jesus rushed to the cockpit. The front cabin stewardess managed to block the door, but the passenger knocked her down, she bumped and lost consciousness. At this time, Schaeffer caught up with him, which he easily lifted up and with force threw on the front seats. (As a result, she suffered multiple fractures, back injuries, kidney and stomach injuries. She underwent three operations and returned to work only two years later.)

Two free pilots, with the help of passengers, knocked Trammel to the floor and tied him up. However, despite the fact that the entire cabin was covered in blood and two employees were seriously injured, the court sentenced Trammel to only $ 1,5 in a fine and 150 hours of community service, since he was declared insane. At the same time, the court did not take into account that before the flight, "Jesus" was fortified with a hefty portion of LSD.

Фото: Depositphotos

Other, no less striking examples of "air rage":

  • Boeing 747, flying from Brazil to London, made an emergency landing on Tenerife, as one of the passengers went wild and tried to open the door directly over the Atlantic Ocean. On the ground, he was handcuffed and tied to an armchair, after which the plane arrived in London with a four-hour delay.
  • The plane of the British airline had to urgently land after one passenger, after drinking a bottle of bourbon and taking a dose of methadone (a synthetic heroin substitute), beat the flight attendant and smashed the head of the co-pilot. The reason for her anger was that she was denied an extra drink.
  • The KLM aircraft flying to South Korea was forced to land in Krasnoyarsk because the passenger seriously injured a flight attendant who blocked his way into the cockpit.
  • 29-year-old David McCallam, who flew on a weekend in Tenerife, quarreled with his sister sitting next, and then began to threaten that he would open the door of the plane. The pilot decided to lock the door and made an emergency landing in Lisbon. The court sentenced McCallum to one year in prison.
  • On the Aeroflot plane flying from Delhi to Moscow, one of the passengers beat the stewardess and began to run down the aisles, shouting something inarticulate. The guards tied him up with the help of passengers, and at Sheremetyevo-2 they checked his visa, which turned out to be a fake, and sent him back to India.
  • The passenger of the plane, which just departed from Tokyo’s Haneda Airport, threatened the flight attendant with a knife, reached the cockpit, cut the captain’s throat and seized the helm, causing the plane to fall. The co-pilot with assistants broke into the cockpit, defused the invader and safely landed the plane. But the captain during this time bled out. The passenger explained to his investigators his behavior by the fact that he had trained a lot on a computer-assisted simulator and wanted to try to fly for real.
  • 19-year-old Jonathan Burton was killed by passengers trying to pacify him. In an airplane flying from Las Vegas to Salt Lake City, Burton threatened passengers and tried to break into the cockpit. Several men blocked his way and beat him until he fell silent. But after landing, it turned out that Burton is dead. Someone from the voluntary defenders of the order did not calculate the impact force.

What to do if you are faced with a bout of air rage offers to try to keep calm during the flight. Imagine that you treat others like your grandmother, who leads you to church. Be attentive, courteous, respectful, sober and unbiased to the views of others.

If this does not work, use the same methods of managing anger as in any other situation: neutral body language, innocuous words, avoid confrontational postures, gestures or words, do not speak down, deliberately slow breathing and speed of conversation. Do not respond quickly or without hesitation.

Be willing to compromise if someone near you conflicts with your own. Just agree with him on the travel time - it's better than changing places and wasting the rest of the trip for fear of bumping into this person again. But remember that you paid for the same trip and travel class as the rest, you deserve the same level of respect and equal service from the flight attendants, so don't jeopardize your own rights too much.

As with any disagreement, sometimes a third party is needed to intervene and solve a problem, so don’t be afraid to ask the crew for help. Be prepared to make a team decision with respect, even if you don’t like it too much.

And one more tip: if you feel that it is you, try to distract yourself from the thought of where you are and what is happening around - turn on a movie or music, focus on reading books, or alternately strain and relax different muscle groups, concentrating on each of them.

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