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3 Travelers Share Tales of Flying with Unruly Passengers

SmarterTravel

A few weeks ago, the airline trade group International Air Transport Association announced that incidents involving unruly passengers increased more than 16 percent in 2015 over the previous year. Unsurprisingly, drugs or alcohol are involved in quite a number of such incidents.

We talked to three people who know all too well what it’s like to be on a flight when a rowdy flier starts acting out.

In the Event of an Emergency, Use Oxygen Masks

“During the 1990s, [I’m] flying home from Europe. A football hooligan goes into bathroom for a smoke. The alarm goes off. A flight attendant opens the loo door and said hooligan punches the flight attendant.

“A cockpit crewmember and a random big dude passenger then wrestle the hooligan to his seat and bind him to the seat using oxygen tubing. When we land at Dulles International, the plane sits on the tarmac until the cops come to squire the dude away.” — Mark Rovner, Takoma Park, Maryland

A Tall Order to Expect Respect

“On a stopover in Las Vegas en route to San Francisco, a very drunk and very tall man boarded our plane. He insisted that, because of his height, he should be in one of the bulkhead seats.

“He tried to bully the people out of those seats. They ignored him and refused. The staff intervened, at which point the man became verbally abusive to the passengers in the seat he wanted and to the flight attendants. The pilot and copilot came out.

“The situation escalated to the point that the police boarded and removed him from the plane. He may have even spat on someone in the ruckus.” — Amy Thomas, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

They Finally Quit in Quito

“Midway through a flight from Miami to Quito, Ecuador, the ringleader of a group of early 20-somethings whipped out a paper bag-masked bottle of liquor and started passing it around among his friends. They got progressively louder and more obnoxious.

“The flight attendants would tell them to stop, they’d say okay and then they’d start drinking again. That happened a few times before the pilot came back and threatened to land in Panama and have them arrested if they didn’t turn over the alcohol. They complied — then started smoking cigarettes! And this was well after all flights became non-smoking.

“After we landed in Quito, the Ecuadorian police came onboard and arrested the obnoxious ringleader.” — James Hannum, Urbana, Illinois

Have you ever been on a flight with an unruly passenger? Share your story in the comments below.

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