Some passengers are better than others, as Ryanair’s crew and passengers found out while on a routine flight from Manchester International Airport to Gran Canaria.
The early morning flight took off routinely and Ryanair Flight FR3803 continued on its normal path. Until the man, who is left unidentified, started causing trouble.
At first, the person moved to the front of the aircraft and started throwing things at fellow passengers and the crew members. Subsequently, as others tried to calm him down, he took one of the fire extinguishers put there for emergency situations and threatened to hit one of the flight attendants.
If that was not enough for him, the man tried to open the door while mid-flight. However, passengers stepped in physically and pinned the man down to restrain him from doing any further damage.
As fellow travelers on the aircraft held the man to the ground, he shouted, “I will kill every one of you”. The low-cost carrier’s crew asked for assistance from the local police.
The Ryanair Boeing 737 landed safely and Gran Canaria’s police detained the man due to his disruptions to the flight and the attempted assault.
Subsequently, after a few days, Ryanair officially banned the man for life from all Ryanair flights.
Unruly passengers, unfortunately for everyone involved, do happen. One passenger, on a Ryanair flight in 2018, opened up the emergency exit door while other passengers waited to be allowed to disembark. Two passengers attempted to open doors while mid-flight as well, one on a Southwest flight and the other in Europe, while on board a KLM flight. Passengers in China have thrown coins in the engine bay for good luck multiple times.
Flight attendants do not have the easiest of tasks when dealing with such cases, proving that their job is, indeed, hard.
Factor in that usually this happens while mid-air, the crew of the flight do not have much choice. Diverting would result in a lot of money lost for the airline, so people working on board the flight will try to talk it out with the passenger to calm him down.
Just as a reminder, like pilots, flight attendants also go through rigorous training, including gaining knowledge on how to deal with such situations.
Usually, when going through cases like these, you can find that the number one cause is alcohol or rather, too much of it. So, firstly, cabin crew will try to limit the amount of spirits a traveler can consume.
If the passenger is still not calm or is not even drunk, the flight attendants will try to talk it out.
However, if the traveler is still causing major disruption, there are three ways to go on from that point:
Nevertheless, there are multiple laws that define what kind of punishment passengers face in the case of a diversion or disrupting normal flight operation.
For example, in the UK, it all depends on the individual case. If a passenger is drunk and has caused trouble, they need to be prepared to clear their wallet – it the fine can be up to £5 000 and a potential prison sentence of up to 2 years can follow. If a traveler endangers the safety of an aircraft, he or she can be sentenced to 5 years of prison.
In the United States, since 2000, the FAA can fine disruptive passengers with a maximum fine of $25 000.
If an aircraft does divert because of someone throwing a hissy fit, nowadays airlines usually pass the bill of a diversion to the passenger. The bill can amount up to $100 000, in rare cases even more.
So, the next time you think of being a prick on board an aircraft, think of the consequences. A prison sentence or a hefty penalty is definitely not worth it.