The Rise of Incidents on Board Flights to Ibiza
With the rise of serious incidents of abusive drunk behaviour on flights to Ibiza we take an in-depth look at the situation and ever growing problem and speak to the airlines involved.
Serious incidents that have made the news of late include:
5 men were arrested after the Bristol to Ibiza Easyjet flight landed when a “1 alcoholic drink per passenger” rule was enforced and they took exception to this and became abusive and threatening towards the cabin crew.
A man was arrested after he became abusive on a Jet2.com flight and has now been banned for life from this airline and will have to make his own way back to the UK at his own expense. Jet2.com are also looking at taking legal action against him in the Spanish courts.
Ryanair had to threaten to remove passengers after singing (with foul language) broke out on board before the flight had even left the gate. There were young children on this flight and it took several attempts by the cabin crew to calm down those participating.
However, from speaking to people who fly in and out of Ibiza on a regular basis many are telling us that the situation is getting worse with more and more passengers getting drunk before they fly or getting drunk on board, becoming abusive, using foul language once on board and on some flights fights have even broken out whilst airborne.
This is unpleasant for other passengers especially as many flights have older persons and children aboard. It also poses a serious safety and security risk, if the cabin crew cannot get your attention in an emergency or as the one of the videos shows below people are standing as the aircraft lands, they could easily fall on someone causing serious injury.
The video below shows several incidents over recent months uploaded to social media.
This year Ryanair, even before the season started, put a blanket ban on alcohol be it carried aboard or served on board on its Glasgow Prestwick to Ibiza flights after several incidents last year on this route, however, when asked they would not comment on specifics.
Interestingly Prestwick airport has also felt the need to employ bouncers this year to keep an eye on passengers at the bars in Departures and to help reduce incidents on its Ibiza and Alicante flights.
Many of these incidents go unreported it seems so putting a specific number on how many is proving difficult, but if you are on-board an aircraft and it is safe to do so film or take pictures so the true magnitude of the problem can be publicised.
To get a better feel for the problem and to find out exactly how the airlines flying to Ibiza plan to tackle the problem we contacted the major airlines who fly to the White Isle from the UK and asked them for their comments on the escalating situation. All refused to go into specific incidents but they did provide us with the following statements;
Ryanair confirmed that “Ryanair has a ‘zero tolerance’ policy towards disruptive passengers. We will not tolerate unruly or disruptive behaviour at any time and the safety and comfort of our customers, crew and aircraft is our number one priority.”
Updated 22nd July: ahead of our flight on the 24th July we received this from Ryanair, a great move in our minds.
Easyjet highlighted that “EasyJet carries more than 65 million passengers each year and whilst they are rare, takes all incidents of disruptive behaviour onboard very seriously. We have a duty to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all onboard.”
“EasyJet’s cabin crew and ground staff are trained to assess and evaluate all incidents and act quickly and appropriately. We do not tolerate abusive or threatening behaviour onboard and always push for prosecution.”
“Like all other airlines, EasyJet has strict guidelines about the consumption of alcohol onboard. Any passenger who appears to be under the influence of alcohol will be refused further alcohol.”
Jet2.com, however, provided us with a full statement and seem to be the most publicly active airline working to solve the problem.
Jet2 explained “As the summer holiday season moves into full swing, the UK’s largest holiday companies are reporting a record double figure rise in disruptive passenger behaviour. As a result, leading leisure airline Jet2.com, along with some of the UK’s biggest travel operators, are calling for industry-wide measures to tackle what has become a serious problem for the travel sector.”
“Phil Ward, Managing Director of Jet2.com said, “We are a family airline and holiday company carrying millions of passengers every year. These are people who have chosen to take their well-earned summer breaks with us and we want them to have a wonderful time. Therefore, under no circumstances will we allow the disruptive few to spoil the experience for the majority of the fantastic customers that fly with us.”
“Jet2.com is working closely with other high profile holiday companies, industry bodies such as BATA (British Air Transport Association), the AOA (Airport Operators Association) and the UK’s leading airports, to put in place a series of comprehensive measures to tackle disruptive conduct associated with air travel.”
“Over the past two years, unruly and disorderly behaviour often linked to excessive alcohol consumption prior to embarkation has risen drastically on-board aircraft. Cabin crew increasingly have to deal with people displaying abusive, racist and often noisy and aggressive conduct, causing misery and disruption for other passengers nearby.”
“Jet2.com has already put in place a series of measures under its ‘Onboard Together’ programme, to educate passengers about the effects of alcohol at high altitude, and to outline its policies. It has empowered its staff to take decisions quickly regarding disruptive passengers including verbal and written warnings and, ultimately, the ability to divert the aircraft to the nearest airport to off-load particularly offensive people before flying remaining passengers onto their holiday destination. Measures also include banning disruptive passengers for life, handing them over to the police, issuing a bill for the cost of the diversion and taking legal action, post travel.”
“Jet2.com, along with its fellow operators, has also written to the Secretary of State for Transport, urging more decisive action from the government to help them enforce new policies to ensure unpleasant and disruptive behaviour during air travel is eradicated.”
“Continues Phil Ward, “By far and away the majority of the travelling public are decent people wanting to have a great holiday. We want people to have a fantastic time from the moment they start their holidays with us. Most passengers absolutely know how to behave on board, whilst having a good time too. It’s for that reason that we must stamp out this rise in disruptive behaviour.”
To get a broader feel for the picture we also asked the CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) who oversees all aspects of flying to and from the UK for their thoughts on the matter.
A spokesperson for the UK Civil Aviation Authority, said: “There is no excuse for rude or aggressive conduct by passengers towards cabin crew or fellow passengers on board aircraft.”
“It is actually a specific criminal offence to be drunk on board an aircraft, and also to refuse to comply with instructions from the captain.”
“We support UK airlines’ efforts to deal with disruptive passengers to ensure the safety of all those on board, and welcome criminal prosecutions where appropriate.”
It does seem to appear that there are UK Laws in place to deal with the type of issue that is on the increase and interestingly these are not new laws, they have been in place for some time. However, it seems that only now, the airlines and in some cases airports are sitting up and taking notice and only now are beginning to put measures in place to combat the problem.
Will it take a much more serious incident, or someone bringing a private prosecution against an individual airline for endangerment before the problem is truly addressed?
Personally if you treat an aircraft like a club or are to drunk to be responsible for your actions or give the aircrew or other passengers abuse you should be removed from the flight, detained, returned to the UK on the next available flight (regardless of destination in the UK) and banned from flying for at least 12 months.
All we can ask is that whether you are on a hen do, stag do or escaping to the beautiful island for some much needed partying, or in fact flying anywhere, of course be happy and excited, have a great time but most of all RESPECT the crew and other passengers (some of whom will be children) who are sharing the journey with you.
Keep the drinking to a SENSIBLE level (alcohol affects you more at altitude) and above all don’t ruin your well earned holiday by becoming a drunken and abusive passenger. You could end up being arrested, given a criminal record and even jail time for having one to many on the flight.