(A) The first recorded case of an airline passenger turning seriously violent during a flight, a phenomenon now widely known as “air rage”, happened in 1947 on a flight from Havana to Miami. A drunk man assaulted another passenger and bit a flight attendant. However, the man escaped punishment because it was not then clear under whose legal control a crime committed on plane was, the country where the plane was registered or the country where the crime was committed. In 1963, at the Tokyo convention, it was decided that the laws of the country where the plane is registered take precedence. (B) The frequency of air rage has expanded out of proportion to the growth of air travel. Until recently few statistic were gathered about air rage, but those that have been indicate that passengers are increasingly likely to cause trouble or engage in violent acts. For example, in 1998 there were 266 air rage incidents out of approximately four million passengers, a 400% increase from 1995. In the same period American Airlines showed a 200% rise. Air travel is predicted to rise by 5% internationally by 2010 leading to increased airport congestion. This, coupled with the flying public’s increased aggression, means that air rage may become a major issue in coming years. (C) Aside from discomfort and disruption, air rage poses some very real dangers to flying. The most extreme of these is when out of control passengers enter the cockpit. This has actually happened on a number of occasions, the worst of which have resulted in the death and injury of pilots or the intruder taking control of the plane, almost resulting in crashes. In addition, berserk passengers sometimes attempt to open the emergency doors while in flight, putting the whole aircraft in danger. These are extreme examples and cases of air rage more commonly result in physical assaults on fellow passengers and crew such as throwing objects, punching, stabbing or scalding with hot coffee. (D) The causes...
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14. Personal experience.
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