Air rage

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Air rage is the general term for disruptive or violent behavior perpetrated by passengers and crew of aircraft, typically during flight. Air rage has been defined as "aberrant, abnormal, or violent behavior exhibited during the air travel process".[1][2]


Air rage generally covers both behavior of a passenger, that is likely caused by physiological or psychological stresses associated with air travel,[3] or when a passenger becomes unruly, angry, or violent on an aircraft during a flight.[4] Excessive consumption of alcohol by the passengers is often a cause.[5]

Furthermore, stopping and ejecting the offender is often not a practical option, as landing would inconvenience the flight schedule of the aircraft and the other passengers more than the misbehaving person themselves. However, unlike large ships, there is insufficient room on board to hold the offender in an isolated area until arrival. Therefore, diversions or unscheduled stops do occur because of air rage.

Examples of behavior that threatens flight safety include failure to follow safety regulations or behaving in a way that gives suspicion of a threat to flight safety.[2][6][7]

An airline passenger's uncontrolled anger is usually expressed in aggressive or violent behavior in the passenger compartment,[8] but air rage can have serious implications, especially if the offender decides to interfere with the aircraft's navigation or flight controls.[7]


The first case of air rage was recorded in 1947 on a flight from Havana to Miami, when a drunk man assaulted another passenger and bit a flight attendant.[9] Another early documented case involved a flight in Alaska in 1950.[10]

At the time, applicable jurisdiction was unclear, so offenders often escaped punishment. It wasn't until the 1963 Tokyo Convention that laws of the country where the aircraft is registered were agreed to take precedence.[citation needed]

Air rage events have increased markedly since the September 11 attacks.[11] No definite explanation for that trend has been established; possible explanations include heightened anguish for one's safety, increased irritation with invasive security, or other unremarkable causations.[12]


Air rage generally covers both behavior of a passenger or passengers on the aircraft or more generally speaking at the airport:

Other related behavior that may interfere with the comfort of cabin crew or passengers include smoking on board the flight, viewing pornographic materials, performing sex acts ("mile high" club) in the aircraft cabin, making undue sexual advances towards other people, performing sex acts in the lavatory, the inappropriate groping and touching of crew members, loud or drunken behaviors, spitting, swearing, and wearing clothing that is inappropriate or offensive.[18]

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