Mint Explainer: Unruly passengers on flights and how authorities handle them | Airlines

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A recent incident occurred on Sunday when a passenger assaulted a pilot of an IndiGo flight while he was making an announcement related to flight delay when a large part of the country was engulfed in a thick blanket of fog, causing delays amid low visibility.

Unruly passenger: 2017 incident

The issue of passenger misconduct took centrestage in 2017 following an incident involving Ravindra Gaikwad, a former MP associated with Shiv Sena. Gaikwad , hit a duty manager of Air India with his slipper more than 20 times when the latter requested him to deplane. Gaikwad was carrying a business class ticket and insisted on taking an early morning flight which was an all-economy class aircraft.

This incident prompted the Indian civil aviation regulator to formulate a civil aviation requirement or norm in May 2017 on unruly passengers. 

Recent surge in incidents

There has been a spike in unruly incidents on board since air travel started recovering in late 2022. In a bizarre incident in 2022, a passenger travelling on an IndiGo Chennai-Tiruchirapalli flight “accidentally” opened the emergency exit during the boarding process. 

In 2022, Air India witnessed two incidents whereby, a passenger was reported to have urinated on a co-passenger on a New York-Delhi flight, and another passenger had relieved himself on a vacant seat and blanket of a fellow passenger on a Paris-Delhi flight.

An “unruly passenger” is defined by the Directorate General of…

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