The violent trend gripping Australia’s airports ahead of the chaotic holiday season as cops issue a warning to ‘raging’ travellers
- Australian police noticing a rising trend of ‘air rage’ from frustrated flyers
- At Melbourne Airport there have been 473 incidents of the phenomenon in 2022
- A retired pilot said flight crews do security training and can restrain passengers
Australian airports are seeing an increase in ‘air-rage’ incidents as passengers struggle with delayed and cancelled flights amid airlines ramping up again after the Covid pandemic.
From March to September this year, Victoria Police recorded 473 ‘air rage’ offences at Melbourne‘s Tullamarine Airport alone.
The incidents involving passengers included 30 cases of offensive behaviour or intoxication, 195 cases of public disturbance and 18 incidents linked to assault.
Even airline staff have been targeted, with passengers frustrated over their disrupted flight schedules or lost luggage increasingly unable to contain themselves, the AFP, who are responsible for airports, said.
‘Air-rage’ is on the rise as passengers combat flight disruptions, luggage problems and getting back to the skies (stock image)
James Nixon, an author and retired A380 captain, said even changes to layouts of airports were setting some passengers off as they try to make their way through security.
‘Every time you go to the airport it has changed because they’re always building sites,’ he told 3AW’s Tony Jones.
‘Just navigating through with your baggage and all the drama that goes with it causes people to be stressed out before they get on the flight.’
He added that even so much as ‘scratching an airplane or ripping off a tray table’ was actually a federal crime and was taken much more seriously than ‘having a tantrum at your local supermarket’.
Mr Nixon said that each aircraft had special handcuffs onboard and flight crews have security training and authority to restrain passengers who ‘kick off’ in the air until police can takeover when they land.
He suggested passengers bring aboard something to occupy their attention and make sure they are well hydrated and not hungry before flying, while smokers bring nicotine gum with them to reduce irritability.
The AFP recorded 473 ‘air-rage’ linked incidents at Melbourne Airport this year (stock image)