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Airport Automation Helps Alaska Invent Airport of Our Future

by Stu Watson
August 30, 1999

(...) Continental Airlines has equipped domestic U.S. airports with E-Ticket machines or "ETMs". Use your OnePass Elite or credit card to gain access (no charge), and the ETM lets you select or change a seat assignment, make simple flight changes, get on standby for first class, or check in for your flight and get a boarding pass. American Airlines in limited trials at its Dallas-Fort Worth home and at the smaller Love Field in Dallas is providing touch-screen kiosks to change seat assignments, answer security questions, and check in. Spokesman Tim Smith says if you have an e-ticket, you can go straight to the boarding gate where electronic gate readers will scan your credit card or Advantage Platinum Gold card, then spit out what we might call a “boarding receipt” with your seat number. Delta isn’t there yet, but has ITM-like technology on the radar screen, promising customers at its web site that “airport kiosks for ET Check-In” are in the future.

Flying with Alaska, passengers in Seattle have dozens of kiosk options to check in, get a boarding pass, even begin the baggage checking process. Coming soon, say Jack Evans, manager of corporate communications, passengers throughout Alaska’s West Coast route system will be able -- not only check themselves in electronically, but also check their own bags. That’s right, check your own bags. The service was offered this summer to passengers flying through Anchorage International Airport in Alaska. It was a roaring success.

Echoing an assessment by Smith at American Airlines, Evans says moves to electronic boarding assistance are a natural response to a number of external forces. For one thing, airports are much busier. But as traffic grows, the airports themselves don’t always keep pace. Hence, major crowding, long lines, delays, frustration.

In late 1995, Alaska became the first airline to sell e-tickets on the Internet. The airline promptly began exploring ways it could use that data file to help passengers needing little or no interaction with airline personnel. (...)

Usage reports showed that the majority of users were leisure travelers. Duh-uh. Nobody, repeat nobody, enjoys waiting in line if they can help it. The kiosks, now in all of Alaska’s cities from Mexico to Alaska, were just the first step in what the airline calls its “Airport of the Future” project. (...)

Seattle has become Ground Zero for prototype modeling. Kiosks at the check-in counter let passengers indicate if they want to check bags. Yes? The kiosk spits a boarding pass out the back, a gate agent attaches it and whisks your bag away. This summer, Alaska began a “very successful” test in Anchorage. It’s headed next to Seattle and Portland.

In essence, Alaska connected the CTX bomb scanning device to the baggage self-check-in process. Every bag that a customer self-checks is scanned. Boarding manifest head-counts ensure that whoever checked the bag is on board. Evans says it’s just one way the airline will be handing some travel steps to the customer, so its gate agents can focus on more complex issues for people who need that help.

Even then, agents stuck at boarding gates have limited bandwidth. So Alaska now sends agents into the waiting crowd with hand-held wireless personal digital assistants. They can issue boarding passes, check seat assignments, answer questions about flights.

Other tests are using bar code technology to store personal data on your boarding pass. Slip it into a bar code reader at the gate, show your ID, and you’re gone.

Next step, photo links. Alaska asked 500 frequent flyers to let it take digital photos of them. None refused. The photos are now linked to their bar codes. When their bar code is scanned, their photo pops up on a nearby video screen. No more need (for them, anyway) to show their IDs.

The airline is pushing the bar coding to the e-ticket confirmations that passengers print out of their computers when they book online. “This will prevent the need to send a confirmation notice to them,” Evans says. (...)


Date: Thu, 7 Oct 1999 16:07:02 -1000

To: DrDriving@DrDriving.org
Subject: Is this air rage?

hello- i'm an 11th grade student in Montreal Quebec. i am doing a project on air rage and I've come across your great site which has helped me a lot. before i tell you my story, I'd like to ask a few questions...


1) why is air rage more common today then it was a while a while ago?

2) what is the exact definition of air rage?

okay, now for my story. in 1998, i took a trip to Israel. (10 hours long) on my plane, there was a man of about 27 who was autistic. he got really scared, nervous etc,... and was really causing a lot of commotion on board. i was so scared i started to cry. he was screaming in constant intervals and was running up and down the isles. at one point, he tried to open the exit door. he wasn't hurting anyone, however he was knocking things over, throwing his food around etc,...the thing is, i'm not to sure that this is actually air rage because this poor guy actually had a handicap. nevertheless, for 10 hours kept the whole plane awake and kept us very nervous. i have no objections of mentally disabled people riding on the same plane as me, however, his parents (who were with him) should have realized before that he would have created trouble on board. well, that's all...i hope that you consider writing me back- i would truly appreciate it! Thanks.
Amanda.

Dear Amanda:
Well, we understand how upsetting this experience can be. You may feel good about yourself, having remained calm and not adding to the commotion by having air rage yourself. In a way, the behavior of that passenger was air rage, which we define as passenger behavior that interferes with the normal quiet and calm atmosphere of the airplane or waiting room.

Did you feel disturbed?
Did you feel threatened?
Did you feel scared?
Was it unruly behavior?
Did it go on for some time?
Was the source of this a passenger?

If you say "Yes" to these questions, then you know you were confronted with air rage.

You ask whether air rage is increasing? The answer is yes. But why now? Partly for the same reason as there is road rage and spouse abuse and bullying in schools. I believe that we need to teach more affective education in schools. Then, the airlines need to train their employees on how to create a community atmosphere. We discuss this on the sidebar on the left of this Page.

Thanks for writing, Amanda. A question for you: How did you manage to stay calm? What did you have to tell yourself? It's something many
people need to learn how to do.

Leon James and Diane Nahl
DrDriving


The Disruptive Passenger Protocol

"The Disruptive Passenger Protocol, developed by police, airport authorities and airlines to combat the increasing number of air rage incidents, outlines the action to be taken against any passengers causing trouble.
Airlines are to release full details of any incident to police and compile a full list of witnesses so officers can investigate all allegations. Offenders will be warned they face jail if found guilty."

Original story continues here


But is it Air Rage?

A company director has been suspended following an alleged sex act with a woman on a flight Boeing 757 from Dallas to Manchester. The couple — both m\arried — who were strangers before the incident were arrested under new air rage laws on arrival in Manchester and are due to appear before magistrates on November 1.

The Royal Aeronautical Society News


Flight attendants worldwide rally against 'air rage'

July 6, 2000

Airline employees rallied around the globe Thursday to send a message to lawmakers and passengers: Keep the friendly skies friendly.

(...)

Figures provided by the International Transport Workers' Federation, an umbrella organization for the unions, said air rage incidents have increased from 1,132 in 1994 to 5,416 three years ago.

(...)

Do you ever get so angry onboard that you feel like lashing out at the flight crew?

Yes 7% 110 votes
Sometimes 6% 107 votes
No 87% 1469 votes
Total: 1686 votes

(...)


Air Rage Discussion


University of Hawaii

Dr. Leon James Instructor - Sep 15, 1999
This is the latest big topic and it's related to Road Rage since a similar psychology underlies the two, don't you think? What has your experience been? Please go to DrDriving's new Air Rage Page and look around. Then come back here to comment.

KS - Sep 20, 1999


I believe that "air rage" can be somewhat more justified in comparison to road rage on occasion. Too often airlines only offer excuses when there are lost luggage, delays, or cancellations and rarely do anything to rectify the situation. I think that the customers have every right to be angry with the airline personnel. Therein lies the difference between road and air rage. Air travel is a service provided in which the customer pays in advance for travel accommodations. If such arrangements are not fulfilled, then the customer experiences air rage. Road rage, on the other hand involves the driver, themselves, and an often irrational rage toward other drivers.

JT - Sep 21, 1999


I had no idea that there was such a thing as "air rage". So reading this air rage site was good learning for me. According to Jonathan Bricker, a researcher in Clinical Psychology at University of Washington, air rage is defined as "a symptom of travel stress created by congested areas and unexpected delays". Personally, the definition and the outcome, which is violence, are similar to what people think of road rage. The only difference is that one is on air while the other is on the road. If anything, I think that attitude plays a big role in both air rage and road rage. How one respond to a stress whether on air or on the road, depends on the person's attitude to people and his or her environment. For instance, if an individual has a bad attitude toward people, the chances of him or her getting angry and become outrage would be greater because of the stress and delay he or she might experience. It's all about attitude towards life that is causing both rages

AG - Sep 23, 1999


Air rage is a new term for me but I have definitely seen it with other passengers. Just the other day coming home form the East Coast there was a man who was furious because of the food selection on the flight. I think the scary thing about air rage is that you are up in the air and have less control over the situation. I think the possible outcome of both air and road rage is violence and possible harm to others. For me, I know the food sucks on most airlines so I won't plan on eating. I'll grab something at the airport or pack some snacks. It's all about planning and thinking and controlling your temper. If someone loses control either behind the wheel or on an aircraft the outcome could be devastating.

AV - Sep 24, 1999


I think that air rage is very similar to road rage because of the situation passengers and drivers are in. The environment, condition of the road or plane, weather, people, and many other factors are connected to pushing a passenger or driver into becoming aggressive people. I do not have much experience traveling far like the mainland but I do know how cranky I get even when the neighbor island flights get delayed. I can relate to people when they get a little edgy sitting so close to a person on the plane and feeling very uncomfortable. These two incidents I have just describes while on a plane is very similar as driving on the road. Being late going to school or work and being stuck in traffic with no where else to go. Air rage and road rage and very closely linked to each other and how drivers and passengers react.

CT - Sep 27, 1999


I didn't know that there was a thing called, "Air rage." It looks like it is very similar to road rage, in some respects. I think that the rage comes from events prior to operating any vehicle. Then this rage transcends into a rage with the use of a vehicle. People should take the time to cool down before they operate a car or a plane. They don't only hurt themselves, but others around them.

MM - Sep 27, 1999


"Good morning everyone! As we make our taxi to the runway please take a peak in the seat pocket in front of you and read the card about air rage. Thank you for being a part of our friendly sky! " If road rage is contagious, then air rage will also be contagious. I am beginning to see more signs of air rage, which are similar to road rage. How can we contain the situation and keep it from growing? Education may be the key.

SS - Sep 30, 1999


I think the media has a tendency to try and label everything and are also guilty of fear-mongering. Watch any news program and undoubtedly the most stories will be about violence in our society. The media wants people to believe that the world is a dangerous place. Enough politics, getting back to air rage. People forced into cramped spaces like on an airplane are going to get irritated. It's just human nature, look at prisons. Why don't they do a study on "prison rage", I mean how many inmates are killed each year due to over-crowding or "prison rage"? The media doesn't report or put a label on this kind of thing because the general public has no interest in this type of story as they aren't affected by what happens in prisons. Air rage will affect John Q. Public therefore it gets more publicity by the media looking for ratings and people think it's a bigger problem then it really is.

SS - Oct 6, 1999


Air rage is something new for me. In a way it is like road rage, but I think that the main difference is that in air rage the person displaying the trait is not in control of what is going on. On an airplane, the passenger can not fly the plane and travel faster or slower depending on what they want to do. Another thing about flying is that the passenger is stuck in an airplane with all these strangers that are occupying a limited space. When I take a 6 hour flight to California, I sometimes feel cramped up and get upset at the person next to me. It is hard to relax in this type of atmosphere especially with the way that the airlines are trying to over book flights to make more money.

AB - Oct 8, 1999


I personally never heard of "air rage" until this very moment. I've never seen anyone get totally upset while in an airplane over the food or the people around them. But I can imagine this happening to someone really anal and self-centered. With road rage people get mad because someone cuts them off or tailing them too closely. I can understand that. But to get mad because your flight is late is futile. For one reason, you have no control over it so why even bother. Would you rather the plane take off without your luggage or take off with less fuel or even take off when something like the weather or mechanical is wrong. Everyone on these flights are going to the same place and getting there the same time. Everyone knows what it is that they're getting themselves into.

JT - Oct 12, 1999


This is a very interesting phenomenon, I always thought that most people were happy to be on planes because they were traveling somewhere. I guess people can still get angry due to certain circumstances. It is a serious offense that can be dangerous. I can see the possibilities of an out of control passenger risking the lives of others on the plane.

BJ - Oct 13, 1999

I haven't heard of "air rage" before since it is new to me. I think that air rage has a relation to road rage in a way. I think there are factors that are associated with air rage and road rage. Both experience conditions such as being upset with your fellow co-pilot or passenger, another could be weather conditions, etc. Although air rage you can't see a sign posted whether you are going on a minimum or maximum speed you still communicate with other planes. I think there is some kind of limit of how far apart you should be from another plane when traveling. Air rage is something new and I think it is really interesting to know, especially when it is similar to driving.

SM - Nov 1, 1999


Like most other people that responded, I have never heard or even thought about "air rage". I don't think I wanted to know about it since I fly four times or more a year. It's worse because being a passenger, you have no control over the situation. I would think that air rage would be more prevalent with private pilots in small planes, rather than commercial pilots who are being paid and have so many lives in their hands. ALthough road rage also has fatal results, I would think that playing around in the sky is deadly. The consequenses of air rage could become disasterous.

KK - Nov 5, 1999
The idea of "Air Rage" seems to be a topic of great discussion as our fast paced lifestyles lead more and more individuals into very frequent even daily comuter flights. It is from the passengers perspective that I have heared the most about this topic, mainly addressing the feelings of frustration and anger resulting from inconviencies while traveling. I believe these feelings are intensified past those experienced durring "road rage" because a flight passanger has a much more limited scope of percieved control over their situation. In both cases however keeping a calm outlook and allowing oneself ample time to comute would help to aleviate much of the unessary stress.

AG - Nov 9, 1999
When I first heard of this new (to me) phenomenon I was shocked. I hadn't heard of the term "air rage" and couldn't really figure out what it was all about. I read that airlines now keep plastic handcuffs and really couldn't believe it but after some of the incidents I read about I guess these measures are necessary. I think "air rage" is much more dangerous than "road rage." I read one story about a man who punched the pilot and kicked out a window. That is just insane to me. There are so many lives at risk; it's just a firghtening thought. I realize that there are a lot of stresses sometimes in traveling like delays, canceled flights, over-booking, etc... People need to realize this fact and be ready just in case it happens to you. Calm down, you'll get there eventually...unless you start kicking out windows!

JT - Nov 19, 1999
Now that I think of it, why not air rage, especially now that flying is all the more common. People get fiesty on boats also, they just throw them in the brig. Should we have special harnesses or chairs for those who will not fly nicely with others. They should be banned from the airways if they create problems. Flying is a serious thing with many lives at stake, in the air and on the ground.

MM - Nov 23, 1999
Are we actually seeing more cases of air rage today? Perhaps we should all relearn the importance of keeping our cool and behaving like good passengers. If your passengers are upsetting you while you are driving, are you going to tell them to please quiet down or will you continue to have them behave like animals? The same measures can be done in the air too. We as passengers should behave so that other passengers will not mimic us. Be good role models for everyone both young and old.

KW - Nov 28, 1999
I think that air rage is very similar to traffic rage. However the passengers are not in control of the vehical. I think that this is probably what makes the passengers act badly in the first place. Also I think that the environment in airplanes is not healthy. The space is cramped and the time spent in it is usually longer than a normal drive. However perhaps there is an increase in the amount of flights and that may result in more air rage. My aunt is flight attendant and she has to deal with passengers who are not happy all the time. She knows how to make people feel at ease by listening to them. However she has seen some instances that have she can't control and that are potentially dangerous. Personally I think that Traffic rage and air rage are all symptoms of a society that is becoming very stressful to the average american. The population is getting out of control and people are having to be more and more competitive. Much of the population has not been taught how to deal with their emotions. We need to address this problem at the core by teaching people how to be emotionally intelligent rather than trying to deal with the symptoms only.

MM - Nov 29, 1999
I just came off a plane today, and the passengers sitting next to me were getting aggravated because of children horseplaying. They were making loud noises, and moving a lot in their seats. Their parents were just ignoring them. The aggravated passengers were making loud comments, and their aggravation was being passed on to the couple behind of them. This could have led to some sort of air rage had the plane ride been longer than 20 minutes. I wonder if the entire plane would have been affected?

SS - Dec 6, 1999
I started observing the flights that I have been on which were interisland and lasted about 20-50 minutes. I noticed that on these shorter flights, people are more relaxed and not as aggitated as the longer continental flights. Maybe its not just the control factor that make people feel air rage but the length of time a person is confined to a certain area that is the blame for this phenomenon.

MM only the length of time, but on how full a flight. It could also be due to the invasion of personal space. If a person does not have enough space from the person sitting next to them, it may make them aggravated, especially on these longer flights.

AL - Dec 11, 1999
Air rage is a growing topic that basically needs to be discussed in order to find ways and solutions to prevent it from happening or at least make it a lesser problem that it already is. I admit that it never came to my mind that there is a problem called air rage. To my knowledge, air rage is like road rage because people have the same attitude. People these days are impatient and wants to get where they want to go fast without delays or any intervention along their way. This I think is what causes road and air rage alike.

TO - Dec 12, 1999
I never heard of air rage before, but I guess I have experienced it before. I agree with the person who said its like road rage, but we aren't in control of the plane. I guess like road rage people are in a rush to get to places, so when their flight is delayed this causes some conflict in their schedule. So the air rage begins and you sit there getting impatient and start hating the airlines and promising that you will never fly with them again. But eventually you'll go through all the airlines and be disappointed and then what? You won't choose to never fly again, so I guess there will eventually be ways to cope with air rage, like there are now with road rage.

 

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AIR RAGE AND ALCOHOL

IS THERE A CONNECTION?

Reuters News
Seattle, WA

November 3, 2000

Chris Stetkewicz interviews Leon James on air rage and alcohol:

The only well established fact on this subject is that alcohol lowers the threshold for aggressive behavior on the part of individuals who resort to aggressive behavior in public places.

People who do not resort to aggressive or violent behavior in public places do not operate on a threshold principle for triggering aggressive behavior. Alcohol does not make them more aggressive. If you eliminate the use of alcohol on flights this second group of fliers may be negatively affected. It's a question of balance between excessive or the wrong kind of control and the right amount of control that is necessary.

For example, individuals who rely on alcohol consumption during flights to keep calm and relaxed, will have to find new ways of coping. You can't just forget about them and say, Well, that's your business. This would not be compassionate management but harsh management, and that creates unrest and disturbances among customers--it's not a wise operation. Before altering current rules and procedures that have been in place for a lifetime, it would be wise to calculate the consequences on all parties who are going to be affected. And provision must be made for any negative consequences. This must include helping travelers to readjust their old habits of coping and how to learn new ones. There may have to be a transition phase.

I believe that a better solution than banning or restricting the current alcohol service, is to create a positive and compassionate flight environment that draws on the community resources within every airplane, namely the passengers themselves.

On the left of the screen Dr. Diane Nahl and I outline the principles of compassionate crowd management, including some thechniques for creating community-building forces on every flight.

 


Blame the airline, not the employee sheep

Mon Dec 6 13:21:13

In a lot of the messages on this board people compare the jobs of flight attendant and ticket agent to most other service jobs out there, like waiters or salespeople. And while I wholeheartedly agree that in any of these professions customer service should be a top priority I can really understand where some of these unhappy airline employees are coming from.

Everybody in a customer service job has to deal with rude jerks in the course of a day. But in what other job do you get 250 screaming, angry people coming at you all at once, expecting you to make that snowstorm go away so you get home for the weekend?

I've been flying for a couple of years now on a weekly basis and it seems that the number of surly airline employees I encounter has risen in direct proportion to the number of surly customers I'm seeing. And I place the blame for this squarely on the shoulders of airline management. Their policies of slashing service in every area save safety (I pray) have led to overcrowded planes, seating designed for 10 year old children, food you couldn't serve to prisoners without a riot, and an abysmal level of customer commitment. Chalking up this mess to "air rage" and blaming the travelling public is a lot cheaper then providing adequate training and staff to deal with the inevitable problems and delays in air travel.

 


Date: Sun, 12 Nov 2000

From: MK <mack@total.net>
To: DrDriving@DrDriving.org

Subject: Thank you

Hi.

I am a journalism student at Concordia Univeristy in Montreal Canada. I am writing a feature article on air rage and I was planning to email you with a few questions. However, you have answered all my questions already on your website. So I wanted to thank you for the great web site.


I also work in the airline industry part-time and it seems that, almost weekly, I talk to flight attendants and pilots who have experienced some form of air rage. It seems like people are just tense and stressed out as they check in and it continues right onto the airplane. Angry customers, delays, cancelled flights are all on the rise and things are going to get a lot worse than better in the future I think. Even as a ramp worker, I get frustrated when planes are late, bags have to be pulled when passengers don't show up fo the flight and the rest of the problems that come with the industry.

Again, thanks for the informative web site and I welcome any additional comments you may have.

 


POLL ON TRAVEL CONFIDENCE

Which do you feel is safer: flying in a commercial airplane or driving in a car?"

Flying in a commercial airplane 58%
Driving in a car 39%
No opinion 3%

ABC News.com Poll.
Nov. 3-7, 1999. N=1,001 adults nationwide.

 


WHAT FREQUENT FLYERS ARE SAYING

Date: Mon, 21 Aug 2000 21:12:51 -1000
To: DrDriving@DrDriving.org

Subject: Air Rage: One Cause & Safety Concern

Dear DrDriving:

I have flown on numerous airlines, essentially travelling around the world some 50 times since 1980 in my business travels between southeast Asia and the east coast of the US. While I have seen many cases of ignorance of regulations and inconsideration by some (some of whose cultures seem to incorporate non-consideration of others), I really believe the main cause of the exasperation that leads, or at least contributes, to air rage is the appalling lack of personal space available to passengers.

The "cattle car" conditions forced on passengers not wishing to spend exorbitant amounts to upgrade on long flights is psychologically distressing and an affront to one's physical being. Furthermore, I believe it is also dangerous. Watching a fully grown middle-aged woman attempt to rise and move away from a middle coach seat is at the best of times (all seat backs up, no personal articles and no adjacent passengers) a jostling, grimacing trial, and in a emergency is extremely terrifying, difficult and dangerous, all the more so for the adjacent subsequently immobilized passengers.

I believe that in the quest for profits, the airlines have been allowed to abuse the standards of civility and safety. As a businessman I don't blame them as they are not called to change, but as a person I resent it. I know I must hold my anger when I am stepped on, banged in the knee, knocked on the elbow and bumped in the head, and I believe that the FAA, CAA, and other regulating and supervising bodies need to be forced to issue minimum space directives which require more sitting and maneuvering room than that available to most passengers now.

Sincerely,

ST

 


Date: Mon, 21 Aug 2000 06:31:25 -1000

Subject: Air Rage

The flying public brings with them the same set of standards and values they bring to the movies, restaurants, and the highway, none. Their manners and mores will not change. The airlines should do much more to inhibit passengers from certain freedoms like standing and taking in aisles during flights with someone's ass in another's face. More importantly seats should be restricted from leaning so as to prevent any intrusion into another's already limited uncomfortable space.

AA

 


Date: Thu, 14 Jun 2001 07:20:48 -1000

To: DrDriving <DrDriving@DrDriving.org>
Subject: airplane air quality

I was very surprised to find that there is not one mention on this site of the poor quality of air that passengers have to breathe now that smoking is banned on flights. People "rage out" because the fresh air that used to have to be drawn into planes in the good old smoking days kept them normal. Airlines save money by banning smoking because they are able to simply re-cycle the air. Why do you not have this information on your site? I have read very detailed studies on this which are available in UK. Deep vein thrombisis is another aspect of long distance flight in poor travel conditions and on flight oxygen starvation. This is a really criminal situation which is slowly being exposed.

 


Disruptive Passenger Protocol

Police and airlines at Manchester Airport in the United Kingdom are to introduce a new "Disruptive Passenger Protocol" following recent incidents of air rage. Airlines in Britain have apparently experienced a 400% increase in air rage incidents over the last three years according to the head of police at Manchester Airport. The protocol stipulates that police will prosecute every incidence of air rage occurring on flights to and from Manchester Airport, while airlines agree to compile a full list of witnesses to any incident and allow those crew members involved in an incident a day off when next in Manchester to enable them to make a full statement to police. So far 39 airlines have signed the protocol.
Police are also calling for the prison sentence for those found guilty of air rage to be raised from two to five years.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Jan 19, 1999

An Australian woman passenger on an Air New Zealand flight from Sydney January 15 allegedly assaulted a flight attendant and caused danger by trying to open a door as the aircraft was approaching Wellington. The captain was reportedly so concerned about the situation that he aborted his initial landing approach. Police later arrested and charged the 25-year-old woman when the aircraft arrived at the terminal after being delayed for about 90 minutes.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Jan 18, 1999

A man ran amok through the cabin of a British Airways Boeing 747 and broke an inside window before crew and passengers overpowered him, the airline said January 17 after the man had been returned to London and arrested. British Airways said the incident, on a flight from London to Thailand January 14, had shaken the passengers but there had been no danger to the aircraft. The pilot diverted to India "for the safety of the aircraft." The 29-year-old man, a resident of Hong Kong was handed over to the Indian authorities at New Delhi airport, the airline said. Later, airline security officers picked him up and brought him back to London January 17.

The incident began seven hours into the 12-hour flight of BA009, which left London's Heathrow Airport for Bangkok with 395 passengers. The airline said cabin staff noticed that the man, who was drinking heavily, was annoying passengers around him. A woman sitting next to him tried to ignore him by putting on a headset. The man ripped the earphones from her and bit the headset in half.

Cabin crew found the woman shaking and in tears, and warned the man, but he jumped up and attacked a passenger near him before racing down to the rear of the aircraft, the airline said. He then attempted to punch out the window of the door, striking it so hard that he broke the inner protective panel and cut his hand badly. The flight officer left the cockpit and helped three cabin crew and three passengers overpower the man, who was handcuffed and restrained by seat belts in the rear of the jet, an airline spokesman said.

Originals here

 


A change in attitude

A change in attitude has brought a new phenomenon to the skies--that of the airborne hooligan. Stories of air rage have been hitting the headlines with increasing frequency. The airline runs courses on dealing with abusive passengers, keeps plastic handcuffs on board planes and actively encourages flight crew to report incidents to the police. Its latest tactic is to issue senior staff with "yellow card" warning notices, to be handed to disruptive passengers. Air rage disturbances are attributed to a number of causes:


delays
cancellations
lack of information
queuing
cramped seating
odors and heat emitted by fellow passengers
alcohol in excess
anxiety and fear
long flights
sense of entitlement


A search on the Web on "air rage" shows the problem is increasing by the month. Sample stories in 1999 (see for example the BBC Online Network News):

Twelve "too-happy" vacationers from London are kicked off a flight in Virginia.


A Briton flying to Bangkok is ejected after allegedly kicking out an inside window on a 747, and another is arrested after kicking the door on a flight from the United States.


A British Airways 747 flying from London to Bangkok made an emergency landing in New Delhi to eject a rowdy passenger who allegedly broke an inside window. He later was flown back to London and arrested.


A man was arrested at Gatwick Airport after he allegedly kicked at a door on a Continental Airlines flight from Newark, NJ One member of the crew and three passengers were injured.


A violent passenger died on board a Hungarian airliner after cabin crew and passengers strapped him to his seat and injected him with tranquilizers. The passenger had been harassing people on board the flight from Bangkok to Budapest, punching the pilot and choking an attendant.


An Airtours air hostess was attacked with a vodka bottle by a violent passenger on a flight from London to Malaga, Spain.


A 24-year-old woman will appear for sentence in a London court, after pleading guilty to two counts of actual bodily harm and one of endangering an aircraft, while flying with British Airways.


Airlines are sharing resources to help fight the problem. Some recent developments include the following:

In February 1999 Britain announced an agreement among airlines and police forces to collect uniform data on "air rage''


The number of incidents on airliners has almost quadrupled from 1996 to 1999, according to the International Federation of Air Line Pilots' Associations.


The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration pursued 142 cases of alleged passenger interference in U.S. airspace in 1998, according to the FAA. There were some 19 million commercial passenger flights in the United States that year.


British Airways, which carries 40 million passengers a year, reported 260 disruptive passengers in 1996. The airline has reported a 400% rise in air rage incidents globally over the last three years and major carriers are finally starting to wake up to the disturbing facts.


"Employees who fly often see stress, anxiety levels soar" declares a headline in the Seattle-Post Intelligence (August 23, 1999). As air travel stress increases we are beginning to see the spread of an air rage epidemic paralleling the climb in road rage on highways. The 177 million licensed drivers created 1200 road rage incidents last year. During the same time, 270 million passengers who fly for business created 5,000 air rage incidents where some traveler snaps and assaults a fellow passenger or crew member. According to Jonathan Bricker, a University of Washington researcher in clinical psychology, air rage is a symptom of travel stress created by congested areas and unexpected delays.

There are two ways Airlines can reduce the stress of travelers, according to the clinical psychologist:

1. Airlines should give travelers information about delays and connecting flights. Knowing things in advance reduces anxiety, and hence stress.

2. Airlines should help travelers with stress reduction exercises. like deep breathing, or discussing what "trigger points" are and how to deal with them--lost baggage, missing connecting flights, getting wrong directions after waiting in line.

There are also two ways individuals can reduce their travel stress:

1. Being prepared for delays by making alternative arrangements and notifying appropriate co-workers or relatives.

2. Bringing along work to be occupied with.

Google
 


Subject: Understating delays

From: T.Michaud
Date: Thu Dec 2 19:26:44

As for the airline reps, they should escalate angry
customers to their supervisors - if the dissatisfaction
makes it high enough up the chain, it might reach someone who can do something about it.

Original here
Subject: HELP
From:: Virgin Traveler
Date: Sun Dec 5 18:39:48

This will be my first time flying, and I don't know what to expect upon arrival at the airport to depart and after the flight. I just want to lower the chance of a mistake.

Thanks

Here are some things that may help:

PRE-Flight:

Get to the airport early--45 minutes for flights within
the US, 2 hours for international flights. The plane
will begin to board about 30 minutes before take off for domestic flights, 45 minutes - 1 hour for international flights.

Have a picture ID ready with your ticket. You'll have to show it when you check in. If you have an
"e-ticket" you'll only need your ID.

You'll be limited to the amount of carry on baggage you can take...1 item if you're traveling internationally, 2 for domestic trips.

After you've checked in, the ticket agent will tell you
how to get to the correct gate.

During the Flight:

Wear comfortable clothing. Looser fitting or button down shirts are often recommended for those traveling for the first time, or for those who are nervous about flying as they are less constrictive.

If you're on a long flight, drink plenty of liquids
(preferably without caffeine or alcohol). Dehydration is the primary cause of jet lag. It's OK to take a bottle of water or juice with you on the plane, or you can ask the flight attendants for beverages.

Try to stay relaxed. Bring a walkman with some music that normally helps you unwind. You'll probably go through some bumpy patches, but that'll be expected.

Once you've landed:
If you're transferring to another flight--you'll probably

be told which gate to go to. If you aren't check the
monitors in the terminal. If you're in a larger airport,
you can always ask for directions to the next gate.

You will NOT have to get your bags (unless for some
reason you're told otherwise--but that's never happened to me)

Once you've reached your final destination:
If you checked a bag, you'll need to get it from the
baggage claim carousel. Chances are most of the of the passengers will be headed that way, so just follow
them--or look for signs.

Once you've got your luggage, you'll be set to go. There will be rental cars in the baggage area along with taxi's and (probably) busses outside.

Good luck

 


October 12, 2000

Passengers panic due to crowding,
lack of information

By: Biana Ferrer

Several students were the victims of air rage this summer when passenger Markus Peter Straubenmuller repeatedly assaulted them mid-flight from Madrid, Spain to Miami, Florida.

“He kept kicking my chair until he eventually broke it, pulled my hair, threw money, pillows, bottles, and cigarettes, spit on the floor and on my chair, and swung at Sr. Regina,” said senior Vanessa DeHuelbes. “Then he unzipped his pants, exposed himself, and urinated everywhere including my chair.”

Such an attack is something researchers and doctors are calling air rage. According to AirSafe.com, air rage is outrageous misconduct by passengers that may place crewmembers and passengers at risk. Excessive alcohol consumption, smoking bans, crowding, and long flights contribute to why passengers may break into this rage.

Cristie Castellanos, another senior on board, explained how she and DeHuelbes complained early in the flight about Straubenmuller’s rowdy behavior but said no action was taken by flight attendants. “Only until he threw a cup of liquor and almost hit a man on the plane was immediate action taken,” said Castellanos. “A male flight attendant came over and told him to calm down, but there was never an attempt to take away the liquor he had,” she said.

Miami police arrested Straubenmuller as soon as he stepped off the plane until the FBI arrived and took the case. He was detained from his connecting flight and held with a bond of $750,000 until his hearing.

(...)

Air rage is a growing concern for officials and passengers. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) cites 1,173 such incidents since 1995. According to the International Air Transport Association, there were approximately 5,500 incidents worldwide in 1997 alone. Many are seeking precautions to minimize the chances of encountering air rage.

(...)

Up for vote in Congress is the Passenger’s Bill of Rights. Is passed, this bill would require airlines to refund passengers twice the amount of their ticket if they are delayed on the runway for two or more hours, require airlines to explain why a flight is cancelled or delayed, and ensure passengers a refund if their flight is cancelled, along with other passenger benefits.

In a recent Internet article, Leon James, Ph.D. and Diane Nahl, Ph.D. have studied air rage and believe passengers can take action as well. When traveling they recommend that one bring something of comfort such as a blanket or pillow. Forming a mini-support group with another passenger is encourages in case a problem arises. James and Nahl also suggest traveling with a positive attitude, coping tricks, and alternate scenarios worked out if one’s plans are altered.

(...)

original here


Date: Tue, 12 Dec 2000 07:39:31 -1000

From: JKB459@aol.com
To: drdriving@DrDriving.org
Subject: law enforcement and crowd control

I have just read the article you wrote regarding air rage. I have to disagree with your logic and approach. As a law enforcement of 23 years and currently assigned to a special operations unit with one specialty being crowd management, I assure you that if, your approach were used as the "negative" as you claim law enforcement uses, well I'm quite certain the end results would be certain civil unrest and rioting.

You cannot approach an unruly crowd with if you do this you can be arrested and we are watching you attitude.

In real life that is the perfect ingredient for disaster. Protester's or people participating in civil unrest generally do not care if they get arrested. This will only inflame the crowd. So end result is positive approach only.

I would suggest (respectfully) that until you have participated in front line hands on operations that you take a step back and look at the real approach. Law enforcement does not use negative approach tactics. You will loose. It has been shown and proven that this approach causes escalation in civil unrest.

This is not a letter to criticize anyone's work and research. It's simply not how it's done in real life incidents.

I will be more than happy to provide you with documentation on the above.

Respectfully

Jim Minton

Date: Tue, 12 Dec 2000 10:42:35 -1000
From: Leon James <leon@hawaii.edu
To: JKB459@aol.com

Subject: Re: law enforcement and crowd control

Thanks for your comments, Mr. Minton. Yes, I would like to hear more of your views and experience. I hope you write again. Regarding your comment on calling law enforcement "negative"--perhaps I shoudln't use that word for it. I don't mean it in the sense of negative-bad and I agree with you that law enforcement is necessary, and without it there would be chaos, as you indicated. Still, I want to make the point that this preventative measure of law enforcement is never enough by itself and needs to be supplemented with more positive approaches, as I have described. These approaches have to do with pre-empting unruly and illegal behavior by educating and occupying the minds of people in close quarters with activities that help them cope with the waiting and the crowding.

Leon James
Diane Nahl
DrDriving.org

 


August 21, 2000

The Lane Ranger

AAA president urges air traffic upgrades

Joey Ledford

Calling air travel "tedious, stressful and unreliable," the president of the American Automobile Association is calling on the government and the airline industry to fix an overburdened, underfunded commercial aviation system.

In a speech prepared for delivery today to the Atlanta Rotary Club, AAA President and Chief Executive Robert Darbelnet blasted the nation's airlines, the Federal Aviation Administration and Congress for an air travel industry plagued by delays and cancellations.

AAA has a huge stake in air travel, he noted, because in addition to being the nation's largest auto club with 43 million members, it is also the largest leisure travel agency.

"Congress has consistently underfunded aviation infrastructure investment," Darbelnet said. "The FAA has underperformed. Airlines have lost touch with their customers. And all three are pointing fingers instead of solving the problem."

In 1998 alone, he said, 300,000 commercial and general aviation flights were delayed 15 minutes or more, costing the airlines and their customers more than $3 billion.

Between 1995 and 1999, Darbelnet said, 154,000 flights were canceled, and delays have increased more than 50 percent in the last five years.

"Today, air travel is often tedious, stressful and unreliable," he said. "In fact, air passengers this summer are enduring the worst travel season in Amerca's airline history."

(...).

Slater noted last week that the number of airline passengers is expected to reach 670 million this year --- up 20 percent from 1999 --- and is forecast to hit 1 billion within a decade. Low-cost, no-frills flights are the biggest factor in the passenger explosion.

(...)

Darbelnet said the FAA is "running the whole show with 1960s technology," calling on the government to privatize air traffic control.

(...).

Twenty major air traffic control centers around the nation --- including one at Hampton in Henry County --- that manage air travel operations other than arrivals and departures are all equipped with the latest available technology.

"The oldest piece of equipment in those centers dates back to the ancient age of 1997," said Brenner.

(...)

Many of the delays so far this year, said Brenner, can be attributed to unusually bad weather across much of the nation.

Darbelnet said the nation's major airlines have contributed to the problem by scheduling more flights at preferred departure times --- early morning and late afternoon --- than can be handled without delays.

"Scheduling practices, overbooking and well-publicized customer service lapses definitely contribute to the problems we face today," he said.

(...)

Darbelnet noted that consumer discontent has surfaced in the form of several "airline passenger rights" proposals that were introduced in Congress.

Congress, meanwhile, has agreed to back off on possible legislation to give the airlines time to address the problems.

"Airlines have a long way to go to restore consumer confidence," said Darbelnet. "Ideally, legislation shouldn't be necessary to ensure basic, minimum rights for air travelers."

 


December 20, 2000

How rude! When push comes to shove,
it must be the holiday season
By Alison Roberts
Bee Staff Writer

(...)

It's the season to unwrap our anxiety about the end of civility. Every hundred years, we have a bout of courtesy concern. At the last turn of the century, just about every magazine carried articles decrying the demise of American manners, paving the way for the rise of modern etiquette guides, according to Mark Caldwell in "A Short History of Rudeness: Manners, Morals, and Misbehavior in Modern America."

Fast-forward a century, and we're at it again. The ranks of Mistresses of Manners (it seems to be a female-dominated field) are ever-growing, including Judith Martin, who is syndicated as Miss Manners (and carried in The Bee's Scene section), Peggy Post, Letitia Baldrige and Mary Mitchell (syndicated as Ms. Demeanor). Every week we seem to have a new rage on the trend radar: road rage, parking rage, air rage, retail rage, even Web rage (been flamed lately?).

Even our highest-ranking leaders sometimes play etiquette maven. A couple of years ago, New York's mayor, Rudolph W. Giuliani, started a crusade to improve the manners of the city's public servants.

George W. Bush, in his first speech after Al Gore's concession, seemed to be asking us all to be on our best behavior when he singled out courtesy as a source of national strength: "Together, guided by a spirit of common sense, common courtesy and common goals, we can unite and inspire the American citizens."

(...)

The hot-tempered zones
Keep temper from roasting on an open fire

Here are some tips for keeping your yule cool:

Think comfort: Bring things with you to add to your sense of physical or psychological ease. If you're flying, you might bring a pillow or a book. When you're out shopping, wear comfortable clothes.

Go easy on alcohol: Drinking often plays a part in outbreaks of rudeness.
Share: Talk to fellow customers and passengers instead of just stewing.
Be realistic, and plan accordingly. If you know you hate crowds while shopping, go to stores at off hours. If you are flying during the holidays, be prepared for lines.
Practice empathy: That cashier, waiter, bartender, flight attendant you are so irritated with is working extra hard during the holidays and probably has a to-do list as long as yours.
Keep some perspective: And a sense of humor to remind yourself that the holiday hassles aren't the end of the world. A little deep breathing might help too. Or count to 10; if that doesn't work, try 20.
Use the magic words; you don't have to be sincere for them to work. Writes Mark Caldwell in "A Short History of Rudeness" (St. Martin's Press, $13): "The deepest beauty of 'Excuse me' is exactly that it's not a true apology, indeed implies no real emotion at all. Its rote vacuity is just what makes it so useful. It helps us steer daily among countless social reefs."
Some of the tips above were gleaned from the Web sites listed below.

Applied Psychology is a travel safety firm with an informative Web site: www.appliedpsychology.com

The Skyrage Foundation is dedicated to public education about issues of flight safety: www.skyrage.org

Dr. Leon James, a.k.a. Dr. Driving, is a professor of Traffic Psychology at the University of Hawaii. His Web site has lots of links and information, including tips on how to steer clear of road rage: www.DrDriving.org/  

(...)

First and foremost is the mall. There are the crowds and lines and parking hassles to set the stage for a meltdown of manners. It's only going to get worse before it gets better as we approach what has historically been the busiest shopping day of the year -- the Saturday before Christmas.

Retail rage is real. According to the National Crime Victimization Survey, shoppers are responsible for close to 10,000 violent incidents a year in which retail workers are victimized. (Nonetheless, robbery is much more hazardous, affecting more than 300,000 retail workers a year.)

One factor contributing to unpleasantness during the holiday season: unrealistic expectations on the part of naive shoppers.

(...)

Inexperienced shoppers also have a low annoyance threshold, particularly when they are told a store doesn't carry something.

"They get mad and say, 'Well, I really wish you had this,' and they just stand there looking at you like you can will it into existence," our salesman explains.

Going postal
Another major rudeness zone is the post office, where long lines get people simmering.

(...)

To Grandmother's house we go
Besides shopping and shipping, the other big holiday season endeavor that leaves people cranky is traveling. Incidents of road rage are all too familiar. One recent national survey, conducted by an insurance carrier, found 41 percent of respondents reported experiencing anger while driving during the holiday season, and 25 percent said that "worrying about too much to do" was the thing that brought it on.

(...)

The U.S. Aviation Safety Reporting System recorded an eightfold increase in unruly passenger reports by airline crews in the United States, from 66 reports in 1997 to 534 in 1999. Airline employees are concerned enough that they staged a public awareness campaign last summer, demonstrating and handing out leaflets.

Flight attendant Renee Sheffer, now 37, was attacked on a jet heading from Los Angeles to Baltimore during the holiday season in December 1997. Her injuries included torn knee ligaments, a separated shoulder and spinal injuries. Three surgeries and almost three years later, she returned to work.

Her husband, Mike Sheffer, who is 42, and the couple's daughters, Devon, now 7, and Genevieve, now 8, were traumatized.

"Those two little girls for months would have nightmares, waking up screaming 'Somebody's beating up Mommy,' " Mike Sheffer said by phone from the family's home in Charlotte, N.C. "I really don't want to see anybody go through this."

Sheffer is doing his part, as founding director of the Skyrage Foundation, dedicated to public education and assisting victims of air rage.

Sheffer produced a very personal poster for public display, currently hanging in a Miami airport. His daughters, looking worried, appear with the message, "Mommy is a flight attendant ... not a punching bag!"

Tick, tick, ticked-off
(...)

Riley says one study found people involved in air rage incidents share several characteristics. One is a sense of entitlement. "There seems to be an inordinate amount of people who are guilty of this who come from first class," Riley says. Other common characteristics are a fear of loss of control and a negative response to authority.

We can enact laws and fines against rudeness and give airline personnel restraints for subduing unruly passengers, but what about prevention? Maybe there's a way to raise the general civility quotient before trouble strikes.

There is one old rule that is pretty simple. It predates Emily Post and Miss Manners and applies in all seasons.

(...)

 


Keeping your cool during air travel
 

These five tips will help you fly stress-free:


• Always call the airline's toll-free number to find out if your plane will depart on time. Avoid any extra time waiting at the airport.


• Keep ticket confirmation numbers handy. If your plane ticket gets lost, these will help the airline computers recognize your reservation.


• Don't stand in line at the airport if your flight is canceled. Instead, call your travel agent or the airline directly to book a seat on the next available flight.


• If your travel plans frequently change at the last minute, carry a guide to flight times, such as the OAG Pocket Flight Guide.


• Bring your favorite snacks, or even a picnic meal, instead of relying on the airline's offerings. If your flight is late, you won't go hungry.

 


New Air Rage Law in England

"NEW punishments to counter "air rage" will come into force on September 1, in response to a plea by British airlines which have reported a 400 per cent increase in such incidents in the past three years.

In future disruptive passengers will face two years in prison or an unlimited fine. Those who abuse or physically threaten cabin staff will be prosecuted under a criminal offence of "acting in a disruptive manner", Lord Whitty, a Transport Minister, said yesterday.

The airlines argued that there was no measure to cover passengers not directly affecting the safety of an aircraft or causing criminal damage but to disrupting staff. The new offence, created by amending the Air Navigation Order, covers "threatening, abusive or insulting words towards a crew member", behaving in an "insulting or disorderly manner", and "intentionally interfering with the performance of a crew member."

 


Push, bite, grab, scratch, slap and swear

"Flight attendants also have testified about passengers who push, bite, grab, scratch, slap and swear at them. "Air rage" is the term used. Again, although I've personally yet to see a passenger bite or scratch a flight attendant, I'm sure it's true. The number of such incidents reported to the Federal Aviation Administration has tripled since 1991, to 296 last year.
Of course, since 598 million passengers flew last year, that would put your odds of witnessing FAA-reported air rage at 1 in 2 million. Still, industry spokespeople sound rather alarmed, reason enough for me to be wary."

Original continues here

Google
 


Air Rage on the Rise!

According to the Federal Aviation Administration, airlines flying within U.S. airspace reported 283 incidents of disruptive behavior in 1998. These incidents ran the gamut of behavioral maladies, from severely rude and obnoxious behavior -- for example, a passenger verbally threatening to punch an attendant -- to outright physical assault. Compared to the 121 incidents reported in 1994, this figure suggests that in-flight violence in the United States has more than doubled in the last five years. But this statistic reveals only the tip of a dangerous -- and enormous -- iceberg.

Because the FAA records only those incidents that airlines choose to disclose, the actual number of assaults is seriously underreported.

(...) In 1998, 84 U.S. carriers transported 614 million passengers on countless commercial flights. If a single airline (United) reported 635 incidents of disruptive behavior, and the FAA recorded only 283 incidents occurring on all 84 carriers -- well, passenger misconduct data collection methods are laughably incompetent.

David Fuscus, vice president of communications at the Air Transport Association, a trade organization representing U.S. airlines, believes there are at least 5,000 acts of passenger misconduct every year. The reasons, he claims, may be rooted in a stressful air-travel environment. "Planes are more crowded, passengers are less comfortable," he says. "But that doesn't excuse violent behavior."

Original story here

 


In British Airways

"In British Airways at least, the climate has changed over the past three years, [an official] says. The airline runs courses on dealing with abusive passengers, keeps plastic handcuffs on board planes and actively encourages flight crew to report incidents to the police. Its latest tactic is to issue senior staff with "yellow card" warning notices, to be handed to disruptive passengers. [He] says that like domestic violence, air rage has probably always been around but only now is it being consistently reported.
A last resort is to handcuff violent passengers. Aggressive passengers are not only a nuisance, they are a safety risk, he says. (...)

Delays and lack of information, queuing and cramped seating in economy class are enough to drive even the most placid traveler to despair. It is even suggested that the odors and heat emitted by fellow passengers can arouse anxiety and aggression.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that air rage is more common on long-haul flights when passengers have been cooped up in a tight space for hours on end.


Continued here


Policemen Act Out Air Rage in Britain

Two policemen from West Yorkshire have appeared in court charged with being drunk on board an airliner. [The three men] deny the charges.

The men are accused of becoming abusive after getting drunk on a packed Britannia Airways flight to Manchester after a golfing holiday in Orlando, Florida, last February.

Story here.

 


Cause trouble

"She said that as soon as the flight left, she knew [this passenger] would cause trouble. [He] had been drinking and he immediately broke airline rules by smoking in the toilets. It was only when she threatened to tell Spanish police of his behavior that he attacked her with a vodka bottle.
(...)
Airtours was joined by Virgin Atlantic in banning [this man] for life from travelling on any of their flights. Richard Branson, the owner of Virgin Atlantic says he wants to compile a worldwide database of offenders.
The attack came in the week that rock star Ian Brown was released on bail pending an appeal against his conviction and four-month sentence for using threatening behavior on a flight.

The 35-year-old former Stone Roses frontman was jailed last week after magistrates in Manchester heard he told an air stewardess he would chop her hands off and banged on the flight deck door as the pilot brought the plane into land.

Story continues here

 


CONSIDER THESE STATISTICS:

In 1998, U.S. airlines carried a whopping 615 million passengers. Want an even more remarkable number? Zero. That?s the number of people killed in U.S. airline accidents last year. Last year, the airlines also made huge profits of more than $5.1 billion. And while domestic airlines did not result in any fatalities, they sure made a whole lot of us angry. They crammed us into seats, oversold our flights, delayed or canceled other flights; they lost more of our bags; and they cracked down on carry-on bags; they slapped us with surcharges, removed food from some flights; they further limited our use of frequent-flier miles and the lines got longer.

 


September 15, 1999.

UNITED AIRLINES, the nation's largest carrier, pledged to deploy mobile, battery-powered workstations at all its hub airports so that when there are flight delays or other problems, agents can wheel the Mobile Chariots wherever needed and help with rebooking passengers.
The carrier also said it would field 600 hand-held baggage scanners at its busiest airports so passengers with flight disruptions can instantly know the status of their luggage. In addition, United said it would institute a toll-free line for customer complaints, something its most frequent fliers requested in a recent survey.

 


Sidebar: Fyling the Unfriendly Skies

tips from the experts on preventing air rage

by Jo Goecke
August 30, 2000

Leon James, Ph.D., and Diane Nahl, Ph.D., are experts on the phenomenon of air rage. Dr. James is a professor of psychology at the University of Hawaii, where he teaches a course on traffic psychology, and Dr. Nahl is a research scientist in the Information and Computer Sciences Department at the same university. They are co-authors of a new book, Road Rage and Aggressive Driving, co-facilitate air rage workshops (point your browser to here for more information), and collaborate to write and produce Dr. James’ web site http://DrDriving.org .

They provide the following professional travel tips and techniques for avoiding air rage:

WHAT THE AIRLINES CAN DO FOR PASSENGERS….

1) Each airline should provide accurate, updated travel information every five minutes, using electric boards, signs, announcements, and personal contact.

2) Staff members should elevate the importance of each passenger’s comfort and apologize, if for any reason, it does not meet this high standard. The staff should compensate any passenger, who is not comfortable, with some tangible goodwill gesture.

3) Staff members should not expect passengers to stand in line when they can sit down to wait. Nor should passengers have to compete physically with each other for a seat next to their place in line. Do not make the passengers start forming a line until crew members are ready to board the passengers.

4) Special trained staff members should provide community-building principles to create a social group out of the anonymous passengers in the waiting room or on the airplane. Encourage discussion among the waiting passengers. Form a passenger support group so they can offer assistance to one another when help is needed.

5) Airline officials should provide tighter security in the waiting rooms so passengers can nap without worrying about their personal possessions, such as carry-on luggage, laptop computers, purses, briefcases, clothing, etc.

WHAT THE PASSENGERS CAN DO FOR THEMSELVES….

1) Passengers should bring things to the airport to ensure personal comfort—warm clothes, pillow, blanket, reading material, snacks, games, etc.

2) Passengers can form a mini-support group with one or more fellow passengers. Share and consult with each other on whatever problems are encountered.

3) Passengers should come prepared with the right attitude and coping tricks.

4) Passengers should always have alternate scenarios worked out in case they do not arrive when expected.

 


Air rage takes off, Reid calls for strict penalties

LAS VEGAS, Sept. 20– Air rage is flying high at McCarran International Airport. Three planes were forced to make emergency landings this summer to get unruly passengers off the airplanes. That’s why U.S. Senator Harry Reid of Nevada wants stricter penalties for bad behavior in the air .

 


Air Rage Rises, Fueled by Stress, Alcohol

Angry passengers on board? There seems to be an increase in incidents on airplanes. Why the short fuses?

Air-rage incidents have jumped 400 percent in the past five years, according to a story in Business Traveler International magazine. Various national and international carriers have been burdened by disruptive passengers. And it isn't just pampered celebrities who are throwing the fits. British Airways now distributes printed warnings to disruptive flyers warning them that the face arrest for bad behavior.

While cabin crews are on flights to ensure safety, a recent survey of flight crews from 25 major airlines found that the majority had been given little or no training in defusing awkward situations. A campaign launched by the International Transport Workers' Federation has been launched to make sure attendants are regarded as trained safety professionals, not just cocktail waitresses.

Frustrated smokers accounted for more than half of the 266 incidents of disruptive passenger behavior recorded by British Airways in 1997. A huge factor, too, is alcohol. Generally drunken passengers are prevented from boarding. But once they are seated, passengers can order as much booze as they wish. The onus for cutting off the cocktails falls to the flight attendants. Free liquor is a perk that airlines are hesitant to take away.

Stress is a third factor in the bad behavior equation. A tightly wound-up individual might be accidentally bumped by a food cart and go bananas. This has been known to happen to travelers who have not been given enough information about a delay.

Anxiety, harbored by a fear of flying, has caused passengers to go berserk, according to IBT. Here are some suggestions for dealing with noisy neighbors:

-- Do not confront aggressive behavior yourself. Interfering may make the situation worse.

-- Alert the cabin crew. They are supposed to be trained to deal with these situations.

-- Do not call the crew over. Instead, leave your seat and discreetly draw the problem to their attention.

-- Ask to be moved. If there are no seats available, try to distance yourself psychologically. If you do not want to be part of the problem, take these steps:

-- Stay calm. Stress is a major cause of plane rage. Insulate yourself from possible aggravations by bringing along reading material or listening to soothing music on a Walkman.

-- Learn to cope without smoking. Smokers should prepare for nonsmoking flights by bringing along nicotine chewing gum.

-- Tackle any fear of flying. There are several books on the market.

-- Do not take pills. Avoid taking tranquilizers or sleeping pills. Never combine medication and alcohol. And never take medication that has been prescribed for someone else.

-- Have a couple of drinks. But don't overdo it.

-- If you have a complaint, voice your concern politely, listen to the explanation and consider it before making an response. Never shout or use threatening gestures

 


Passenger arrested after ruckus on British Airways flight

A man ran through a British Airways Boeing 747 and broke an inside window before crew and passengers overpowered him, the airline reported Sunday after the man was returned to London and arrested. British Airways said the incident, on a Thursday flight from London to Thailand, had shaken the passengers but there had been no danger to the aircraft. From The Nando Time

 


A Newsweek Poll found among other things that:

43 percent said flying has become "more stressful" in recent years.
53 percent of those who think flying is stressful expect delays and lost luggage.
34 percent said they avoid certain airlines for safety concerns.
"Instead of setting us free, flying has locked us in a snarl of mundane irritations: arbitrary ticket pricing, endless delays, bad food, cramped seating, stale air, dirty planes and rude service," the Newsweek article said. "

"During the first nine months of 1999, the Department of Transportation received about 16,000 airline-related complaints, double the amount for the same period in 1998. The DOT estimates that airlines get 400 complaints for every one it gets. And the chances of having your luggage lost, delayed, damaged or pilfered are up over a year ago for the first nine months. The DOT said the rate of "mishandled" bags was 5.24 per 1,000 passengers."

original here (12/10/99)

 


Air Rage Growing

Pilots Say Nicotine Patch And Less Alcohol Might Help

FRANKFURT, Nov 11 (Reuters) - German airline pilots urged their employers on Wednesday to help avert ``air rage'' attacks by offering nicotine to smoke-starved passengers and cutting down the amount of alcohol served during flights. Georg Fongern, spokesman for the main German pilots' association, Cockpit, said passengers drinking too much or getting frustrated by no-smoking rules were two of the main causes of disturbances during flights.

``We're not saying we want to stop alcohol being served on planes but we want moderation and we should offer nicotine plasters and chewing gum to help those who find the non-smoking rule difficult,'' Fongern told a news conference. Fongern said a Cockpit survey showed that in the year to June 1998 there had been 1,252 cases of ``unruly'' passengers on German airlines.

``Given the extremely low percentage of cases that are ever reported we estimate the number is actually between 80,000 and 100,000,'' Fongern said. The survey showed 36 cases of physical violence in the last year, which Fongern said was ``just the tip of the iceberg.'' Several high-profile air rage attacks have made headlines in the past few months. British pop star Ian Brown was jailed in October for four months for threatening to cut off the hands of a stewardess.

Original here

 


Unhappy Airline Passengers
  1998
rank
1998
complaints
1997
rank
1997
complaints
Flight problems* 1 2,552 1 1,895
Customer service 2 1,960 2 1,600
Baggage 3 1,432 4 1,063
Ticketing/boarding 4 1,412 3 1,084
Refunds 5 748 5 693
Oversales 6 504 6 510
Other** 7 488 7 395
Fares 8 345 8 252
Tours 9 95 9 90
Advertising 10 56 10 66
Smoking 11 13 11 18
Credit 12 1 12 1
Total   9,606   7,667

* includes delays, cancellations and missed connections
** about half involve frequent flier programs
Source: United States Department of Transportation


"We're not mandating fluffier pillows or creating a legal right to a bigger bag of peanuts," said Wyden. "What we're troubled by is that, unlike other retail establishments, the airline industry basically keeps you in the dark. Our bill is basically about getting good information and empowering the consumer."

Here's what their bill would provide:

Enable passengers to find out if a flight is oversold.
Lift airline restrictions on using only part of a ticket's connection.
Establish a 24-hour deadline to deliver baggage to its destination.
Provide fliers with information on all possible fares on their flight.
Supply notice of delays in scheduled flights, where reasonable.
Require disclosure of why a flight is delayed, diverted or canceled.
Grant refunds within 48 hours.
Detail frequent-flier programs, including number of redeemable seats.
In the House, on Feb. 10, Rep. Bud Shuster, R-Pa., chairman of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, introduced the "Airline Passenger Bill of Rights."

"We're not mandating fluffier pillows or creating a legal right to a bigger bag of peanuts." -- Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore. "I hope this legislation serves as a wake-up call to the airline industry," Shuster said. "As industry profits soar, so do the number of passenger complaints. The airlines must refocus their efforts on providing better customer service. They need to start treating their passengers like human beings," Shuster said. The bill includes much of the Senate bill's provisions and adds some financial relief for passengers. Here are the key additions that Shuster proposes:

Airlines must pay compensation to passengers if they are kept waiting on the runway for more than two hours either prior to takeoff or after landing. The compensation would be twice the value of the ticket and would increase proportionally as the wait lengthens.

Airlines must make a good-faith effort to return lost property to the owner if the person's name is on the property

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