Blame it on the Brexit?
"Air rage" incidents on British airlines have reached an all-time high, according to research by the country's Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). The agency announced that there were 386 "dangerous incidents" in 2015 alone, compared to just 83 two years before.
A dangerous incident can include anything that requires a member of the flight crew to intervene, whether it's a passenger getting drunk and belligerent, a woman making racist comments while trying to get into the cockpit, or Kate Moss calling a flight attendant "a basic bitch." Unsurprisingly, some of the routes with the most incidents are vacation ones that go to places like Ibiza and Las Vegas, both of which are popular for bachelor and bachelorette parties.
So, what's causing the increasing amount of bad behavior in the sky?
No, it's not something in the water—more likely, it's a case of what people are drinking instead of water. An anonymous cabin crew member for a British carrier, who goes by the pseudonym "Dan," told the BBC that drugs and alcohol play a major role when it comes to passengers behaving badly.
"People a lot of the time don't actually realize they're on board an aircraft. I think a lot of the time people think that they're in a club or in a bar," he said, adding, "Now we're getting to the point where we're having to be bouncers."
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One potential air rage solution is banning or severely limiting the amount of alcohol sold in airport bars and duty-free stores. This idea was floated earlier this year by Tariq Ahmad, Britain's new aviation minister.
"It’s important that passengers who board planes are also responsible and have a responsibility to other passengers, and that certainly should be the factor which we bear in mind," Ahmad said in a statement issued in August. "If you are a young family traveling on a plane, you want to go from point A to B, you don’t want to be disrupted."
The same month, all of Britain's airports and several airlines signed a document known as the U.K. Aviation Industry Code of Practice on Disruptive Passengers, where they agreed to report in-flight incidents to local authorities and force unruly passengers to personally pay for any damage they caused. So far, two British airports—Manchester and Glasgow—have experimented by selling alcohol in air-sealed bags that are more difficult to open on-board.
Alcohol or not, flying can be a stressful experience even under ideal circumstances. If you're a nervous flier, we recommend downloading the SkyGuru app or enrolling in an Air Hollywood class before you try calming your nerves by picking a fight with your seatmate.