Every day, over 100 000 people suffer from flight delays, cancellations, overbookings, baggage mix-ups and other exhausting challenges caused by airlines. Stranded travelers wait hours for disrupted flights or any explanation from carrier employees, which naturally turns into anxiety, uncertainty and eventually – anger. According to IATA, there were nearly 11 000 air rage incidents during 2015. While companies hold passengers hostage to the unknown, airports’ staff is left in solitary to confront the rising fury.
Even though experts say there are clear signs and an obvious reason why airlines are trying to keep publicity about annoyed passengers to a minimum, frequent incidents coupled with today’s technologies is a tough combo to manage. In fact, based on CAA analysis, from 2013 to 2015 air rage incidents have quadrupled and has been on a rise ever since. Few months back, Spirit Airlines caused chaos in Fort-Lauderdale airport when 9 flights got cancelled. Videos show security wrestling with unruly passengers as they fly random punches at the officers.
And as it seems, airports are more ready to help the “stuck” passengers than the origin of the problem – the airlines. In a recent AeroTime article, airport representatives from across the EU expressed their disappointment in lack of action from carriers, however, ensured its readiness to lend a helping hand.
AeroTime quotes Phillipp Bircher, head of Zurich airport corporate communications, saying, “airlines are primarily responsible for such cases (EU regulation). In general, they have to take care of the affected passengers, while an airport can support the flight company with its infrastructure and operations if necessary.” Markus Haapamäki, head of Helsinki Airport communications, agreed on the fact that airlines should at least take care of passengers by giving them relevant instructions and help.
Frankfurt airport has a response team and 2000 folding beds ready for use in the transit area. At the same time, Stuttgart airport assures that airport is ready to help those in needs often collaborating with Red Cross or similar organizations. Nevertheless, Marius Stonkus, CEO of SKYCOP argues that that should not be the case and travelers that experienced such chaos can and should get compensated for their trouble, even if it was 6 years back.
“Air travel hub is primarily responsible for air traffic control and weather predictions. Airline, on the other hand, as a customer service provider, should inform travelers about their rights as well as up to €600 compensation that they are entitled to in case of any disruption,” explains M. Stonkus, CEO of an international platform www.skycop.com. “The worst thing is that most of these cases are unreported by the airlines due to simple reason: airlines aren’t required to report these inflight brawls and given a choice, they prefer not to. In reality, the number of estimated plane-related violence might be up to 4 times higher than the official score making it somewhere around 40 000 air rage incidents every year.”