If a passenger is deemed as too disruptive the police will be called
Pilots and flight attendants spend the majority of their working day in the air, responsible for the health and wellbeing of the hundreds of passengers on board.
Flight secrets have previously revealed that certain passenger behaviour will see them kicked off the flight and will see them face severe consequences on the ground.
Flying thousands of feet in the air, cabin crew can’t have a disruptive passenger tarnishing the safety of the whole cabin.
Any aggressive behaviour towards any member of staff or other passengers for that matter is simply not tolerated.
But what is the pilot’s role in dealing with this passenger? They are, after all, in charge of the entire aircraft.
One pilot, Petter Hornfeldt who is a training captain and owner of the TubeYou channel MenTour Pilot, has revealed the protocol a pilot must follow when alerted to a disruptive passenger.
Petter explained: “Disruptive passengers are divided into many different categories. Most of the time when we’re talking about really disruptive passengers, it is people who have psychological problems or who are under the influence of some type of drug or alcohol.”
He added: “Those tend to be the most common types of disruptive passengers.”
He went on to explain that the cabin crew are incredibly well trained to deal with such passengers.
Disruptive passengers are defined by cabin crew as passengers that are deliberately not following instructions given by the flight attendants.
The first port of call for the cabin crew when a problem arises with a disruptive passenger mid-flight, is to inform the passenger of the flight rules calmly.
Hornfeldt explained: “If the cabin crew sees someone who is doing this [smoking, drinking own alcohol or being aggressive], the cabin crew will nicely, in a calm manner, inform the passenger that they’re not allowed to do that.”
The next phase for the cabin crew is to the warn the passenger, outlining the consequences of their actions if they carry on disrupting the cabin.
Passengers are warned by the flight attendants, that if they do not stop they may be “offloaded” permitting them from travel and the police may be called.
If mid-flight, the pilot will divert the plane
A pilot will then ask the cabin crew member if the passenger’s behaviour is threatening the safety of fellow passengers
However, if these first two steps do not calm the passenger, Petter explained that the police would be called.
For this to happen, the cabin crew will then inform the pilot of the passenger who has failed to follow instructions.
A pilot will then ask the cabin crew member if the passenger’s behaviour is threatening the safety of fellow passengers.
If the plane is still on the ground and the cabin crew wish to offload the passenger, the pilot will ask for the local police at whatever airport the plane is using, to escort the passenger off the flight.
Petter explained he must then fill out a passenger offload form stating the reason for the offload.
This must be a tangible reason. He said: It cannot be something like ‘I didn’t feel safe with this person’ or ‘I didn’t like the look of that person’, it has to be something that they have actually done.”
If the plane has to divert, the passenger will be heavily fined
Although protocols differ between airlines, Petter explained that if a passenger’s disruptive behaviour – smoking, aggression after drinking too much or tampering with the safety equipment – the passenger is likely to face a fine.
However, if the plane is mid-flight, Petter explained that the pilot “will divert” the flight making sure “the cockpit door is properly closed and locked and will inform traffic control to find a suitable airport”.
He went on to add: “The police meet us at the diverted airport, they will escort the passenger off, and they will be prosecuted.”
“When it comes to the cost of the diversion, the airline will press charges.”
Petter added that if the passenger is prosecuted while the plane is still on the ground the, “the payment, whatever comes out of that, is going to come from the passenger in question.”
If the flight has had to divert over the passenger’s behaviour, then the passenger will, “bear at least some of the cost of the diversion, which is going to be many, many thousands of euros or dollars if that happens.”
A recent Ryanair passenger was forced to pay £2,500 after a flight to Tenerife has to U-turn back to the UK after the passenger’s drunken antics were deemed too dangerous to fly.