Even The Swiss Have An Air Rage Problem

Bruce Parkinson, Open Jaw

We tend to think of Switzerland as an oasis of calm and order, but new statistics reveal the nation is not exempt from bad behaviour, at least aboard aircraft.

In 2017, Swiss airlines, some of the world’s best regulated, had to deal with more unruly passengers than ever before: 795 incidents in which travellers endangered other passengers or the flight itself.

This figure is up from 755 the previous year and 637 in 2015, according to the Swiss publication SonntagsZeitung, quoting the Swiss Federal Office of Civil Aviation.

“The consumption of alcohol, drugs or medication is by far the most common cause of obstinate and unmanageable passengers,” Karin Müller, a spokeswoman for Swiss International Air Lines, declared.

Helvetic Airlines and Edelweiss also reported problems, with passengers ignoring safety instructions, arguing with flight attendants, smoking in lavatories or drinking alcohol they had brought aboard.

The alarming increase in Swiss incidents reflects a global epidemic of bizarre passenger flare-ups and odd behaviour.

In one Swiss example, the pilot of a passenger jet destined for Zurich made an unscheduled stop at Stuttgart airport because a Swiss woman had become aggressive after being denied Champagne. 

German police said the 44-year-old business class passenger was furious and desperate for more bubbly on a flight from Moscow. Cabin crew were unable to calm her and the woman was escorted off the Airbus A320 and ordered to pay EUR 5000 (about $8,000). That would have bought a pretty good vintage on the ground.

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