The UK cracks down on disruptive passenger behaviour

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For the second summer in a row, passengers travelling from the UK’s airports are set to be warned of the potential costs of disruptive behaviour, both at the airport and on board flights. The ‘One Too Many’ campaign launches today for 2019’s busy summer flying season, with the aim of reminding passengers of the serious consequences of disruptive activity, and to reinforce the UK Aviation Industry Code of Practice on Disruptive Passengers.

The 2019 campaign is a refresh of last summer’s campaign, which brought together aviation industry partners (UK Travel Retail Forum (UKTRF), the Airports Operators Association (AOA), the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and Airlines UK (AUK)), with 10 participating airports. The campaign relaunched in winter 2018, with an additional four airports signing up – the participating airports are Manchester Airport Group, AGS Airports, Heathrow, Belfast International, Liverpool John Lennon, Leeds Bradford, Bristol, Birmingham, Newcastle and Gatwick.

Today’s launch is backed by the UK’s aviation minister, Baroness Vere, with the Government highlighting the campaign as an example of industry best-practice in its ‘Aviation 2050 – the future of UK aviation’ Paper. Baroness Vere said, “The vast majority of passengers enjoy themselves responsibly, but there is a small minority that can make flying unpleasant or unsafe for others. We are clear this will not be tolerated and perpetrators risk being denied boarding, fined up to £5,000, or given a two-year prison sentence. It is great to see the industry coming together for this campaign to help ensure flying is safe and enjoyable for everyone.

An example of the campaign’s social media posts highlighting the importance of good passenger behaviour

To inspire good habits, passengers will see warnings about disruptive behaviour posted on digital display screens, in retail and food and drink outlets, and via a targeted social media campaign, which last year reached over eight million passengers across Snapchat, Facebook and Instagram. The warnings will remind passengers that the penalties can range from being denied boarding, fines of up to £80,000 or even jail for the most serious offences.

Positive signs have been recorded at a national and local level since last year’s campaign. In 2018 Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) figures showed that the number of disruptive passenger incidents had dropped slightly from 417 to 413 year-on-year, despite the record number of passengers of departing passengers from the UK’s airports, growing by 2.7% in 2017 (7.67million more passengers). However, some regional leisure routes have seen an increase in unruly behaviour, and with 31% of reported incidents explicitly linked to alcohol in 2017, the campaign seeks to make clear that disruptive behaviour, under any circumstances, has no place in the aviation sector.

On a local level, airports are employing the One Too Many campaign to complement their own efforts. The results over the last year have been encouraging, according to participating partners. For example, Glasgow Airport has reported a 52% drop in outbound alcohol-related offenders since the inception of the One Too Many campaign. Greater Manchester Police also reported a 23% reduction in incidents for Manchester Airport.

An example of the One Too Many campaign’s Facebook posts highlighting the importance of good passenger behaviour

Speaking on behalf of airlines, Rafael Schvartzman, regional VP for Europe at IATA stated, “We are proud to be back on board to continue to reduce rare incidents of unacceptable behaviour. The One Too Many campaign has been effective in enhancing public awareness of the consequences of disruptive or disorderly behaviour. This has been noted by the aviation industry across Europe, which has drawn inspiration for their own initiatives. It is rewarding that the UK’s aviation industry has worked together to achieve a reduction in the number of incidents and is setting the benchmark high for other countries.” 

Speaking on behalf of airport retailers, Francois Bourienne, chair of the UK Travel Retail Forum said, “The results of the campaign so far have been incredibly promising: and there has been a great response from the partner airports, who have reported decreasing numbers of disrupting passengers on last year. The numbers have always been low, but passengers that are disruptive ruin the experience of others on their flight, cause stress for staff and additional expense for airlines. As One Too Many makes clear, this is unacceptable, and all offenders will face consequences much worse than a hangover.” 

Also speaking on behalf of airports, Karen Dee, chief eExecutive of the Airport Operators Association added, “The One Too Many campaign has returned to remind passengers of the penalties they face. However, the industry itself needs no reminder. Airport and airline staff are always ready to act to prevent or deal with a disruptive incident and will not hesitate to action the deserved penalties.  We hope those departing from the UK’s airports this summer fly responsibly and start their party at the destination, not onboard.”

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Ever since his first flight on a TriStar, Adam has loved air travel, and since becoming editor of the Aircraft Interiors International brand he has really enjoyed the opportunity to be involved with the latest aircraft and airline products before they are even launched. Adam co-ordinates the running of the magazine, from commissioning articles and artwork, to ensuring that high standards of quality are maintained, as well as managing online content. Adam is proud to sit on the jury of the Crystal Cabin Awards and to have laid on the bed in Etihad's Residence.

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