Asian News Makers

Fight on airplane: Should airlines hire in-flight bouncers?

Fight on airplane: In some recent incidents reported from different places and countries, many people have been seen indulging in rude, derogatory, and unacceptable behavior. In a recent occurrence, some male passengers indulged a verbal dual, that led to a fistfight, in mid-air, leaving fellow passengers shocked. What was even more surprising the airline staff was unable to pacify the group, raising questions about their training and if they are capable to handle such an untoward incident. 

In another incident, a young man, 34, urinated on a 74 years-old woman in a flight business class. The man is said to be in an inebriated condition after downing several drinks served on the flight. The news everyone shocked and left wondering if the airline’s staff should have cut on the serving alcohol to the guy. 

What is common with these incidents is they all happened inside flying or taxing airplanes, carrying several scores of passengers. News media has recently shown several episodes of rage, scuffle, verbal duals, and worse, a person urinating on a fellow passenger. The said incidents have been shocking and have left many of us wondering if we have forgotten how to travel in the air. What can be the reasons for such unprecedented behavior, recurring at various places, involving people from different walks of life? 

Post-covid travel and increased incidents of “fight on airplane”

One of the reasons can be the travel relaxations that have come into effect after almost two years of pandemic-hit travel. This “freedom” has induced a sort of anxiety and many travelers seem to take extra liberty. They do not seem to come to terms with the fact that freedom is the same for everyone and others have similar rights as them.

Revival of the travel industry

The pandemic came as a major hit to the travel and tourism industry. It was bad for almost every business sector, but the travel sector was among the worst affected. Tour operators were forced out of the business, flight operators laid-off employees in huge numbers, and some even sold-off majority of their airplanes. With the resuming of the travel industry, many gaps have still been left unfilled. It is just like a piece of fine working machinery, whose components worked in perfect symphony, and suddenly it came to an abrupt stop. Now, when the machinery has started to work again, it needs repair, oiling, and overhauling. 

Airlines staff is not the same

Flight operators have re-hired most of their staff, including pilots, in-flight attendants, and ground staff. The same level of commitment and patience is somehow missing with the new hires. Most of the people who earlier worked in the airline industry, moved on to other “safer” sectors, because of how abruptly they were left without work or pay when the lockdowns were imposed. Those hired from a non-airline background are seemingly unfamiliar with the amount of pressure and stress this job involves. There is a hint of a “casual approach” in their demeanor and frequent fliers have witnessed this. 

Is there a missing link in the training module

It is not that such unpleasant events of “fight on airplane” have started to occur recently. Air travel has always been in news for some reason or the other. People who travel by air frequently would have come across such events in the past. It is common to see passengers use the cellular service even after the captain announces not to. Female passengers and even air hostesses have been at the receiving end of undue attention, gawking, remarks, and even uneasy flirtation by some male passengers. People have been behaving rudely, but earlier, they were duly handled and pacified by either fellow passengers or the airline’s staff. 

The recent news, however, points out something which is amiss in the training module of the airline’s staff and raises the question of whether they are prepared to handle such situations. If clubs, discos, and pubs hire bouncers and security personnel, shouldn’t airplanes have security marshals to see to any such events? Wouldn’t it provide more peace of mind to travelers? Wouldn’t it avoid a fight on airplane?

Some people have forgotten how to co-exist

One of the worst effects of the pandemic on the human psyche is that it has made many of us, non-social. During covid, most people were forced to work from home and not travel to offices and places of work. Even work-related travel was non-existent as all the meetings, conferences and seminars happened online. The idea of co-existing in a public space took a back seat and many individuals are yet to come to terms with that. They seem to have forgotten to respect boundaries, respect others’ space, and use public places. 

With recent incidents in view, it is evident that most such happenings were triggered by a psychological cause rather than situational aspects. No such incident required any individual to behave in the way they did. There is a much deeper reason why some people overstepped their boundaries and there is a need for larger introspection, lest such events occur again. 

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