Business Travel Travel News

The Paradox Of Unruly Passengers And Air Rage

Oh, unruly passengers. There always seems to be a story in the news about a passenger on a plane who is arrested or removed. Like this one.  Or this one. But once you get into the numbers of unruly passengers, a larger story emerges. I was surprised to find that overall incidences are decreasing, but more severe events, commonly called ‘air rage’ are occurring more frequently. Behind it are different policies, legal gaps, and training at work, with responsibility mainly falling on flight attendants.

The stats of unruly passengers

From 2007 to 2016, over 58,000 unruly passenger incidents were reported on an aircraft in-flight, including all levels of severity. In 2016 alone, 9,837 unruly passenger incidents were reported. That’s 1 in every 1,424 flights. Remarkably, that is a decrease in reported incidents. In 2015 it was 1 in every 1,205 flights.

While the overall number appears to be going down, the more serious events, like ‘air rage’ are increasing. Statistics from December 2017 show a 50% rise in incidents who were forcibly confined for behavior ranging from verbal abuse and physical abuse to life-threatening actions.  And even more interesting in that arrests overall have decreased. This is largely attributed to gaps in international law. Often, the law enforcement arriving at the airport fail to take legal action, due to the aircraft being registered in a different country. So even culprits who have committed serious offenses can be let go without receiving punishment.

So what’s the plan?

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has a three-pronged approach for continually handling these situations. Putting it simply:

Strong legal deterrent + enhanced prevention and management = a safer and better flight for all

By strengthening international legal framework so all governments have the necessary legal tools to be able to take action when necessary, and increased training at multiple levels, we can hope to see a decrease in unruly passengers overall. Some of these trainings are how to de-escalate situations or restraining techniques. It also includes guidance for airports, restaurants, and duty-free shops, to ensure responsible sales of alcohol.

It falls on our flight attendants

This sounds like a good plan, right? The one downside is the additional stress, time, and work put on our flight attendants. As airlines are packing more people on planes, more incidents are bound to arise. Sara Nelson, spokesperson for International President of the Association of Flight Attendants, says “The issue of unruly passengers can escalate very quickly. . .airlines should increase the number of flight attendants on flights and at gates. If they did, Nelson continued, airline employees could identify drunk passengers more often and prevent them from getting on planes”.

Most flight attendant’s are taught to observe behavior before the passengers even enter the cabin. They look for loud passengers and signs of drugs and alcohol. They often make direct eye contact with passengers to assess if they are under the influence. The cabin crew is usually alerted of particular passengers if these signs are marginal. If it’s severe enough, the passengers can be picked up at the gates before boarding the plane.

What to do if you encounter an unruly passenger

  • Discreetly notify a flight attendant. The best way to keep the situation from escalating is to not engage the passenger or create a scene.
  • Don’t intervene, yell or stare, though this is often the natural instinct.
  • Stay seated if the situation escalates. Passengers who intervene are more likely to be seriously injured in the process.

There is a lot of information to unpack here. Though overall unruly incidents are decreasing, air rage is higher than ever. Often, arrests and other legal ramifications are not viable, due to legal restrictions. And overall, our flight attendants are superheroes in disguise. In addition to making us comfortable, relaxed and hydrated, they are trained in de-escalating and restraining air rage. Next time you fly, be extra nice to your flight attendant!

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Business Travel Travel Management

Looking For Quality Of Service In A TMC

Having a travel management company that you can continually rely on is one of the most important features of managed travel. And surprisingly, it’s one that’s most often overlooked. When our sales teams begins discussions with potential new clients, 9 out of 10 times we discover they are dissatisfied with their current travel management procedures. Occasionally they’re companies who manage their own travel and are looking for a better solution. But often, they are already working with a TMC and are dissatisfied with their current level of service. They’ve typically seen issues like no follow-up support or limited after-hours care. Frequently it’s more broad, like a lack of overall account management on their travel or admin services. If you or your company are looking for a new TMC or a change, it’s important to understand what qualities make a TMC top notch in travel support service.

Important factors that note high quality of service and support in TMCs:

  • After-hours care and support is included –Things don’t always go as planned. Flights get delayed, meetings go long, blizzards blizzard. It’s important to not overlook comprehensive after-hours care when partnering with a TMC. In addition to our top of the line after hours support, all of our advisors are highly experienced and located within the United States. That means you can talk to someone from home when it really counts.
  • Proactive duty of care approach –A quality TMC should additionally provide support and communication tools to use when your employees are traveling. For example, our SecurityLogic tool helps locate and communicate with their travelers quickly in case of an emergency. It also provides alerts to travelers or travel managers, should an event occur nearby.
  • Good standing relationship with airlines – A working relationship with different airlines has its perks. Because of our stellar relationship with many major airlines, we are able to provide superior service for our clients, including accommodation support.  It also often results in additional deals and savings for your company.
  • A consultative approach – Our account managers, not only love their accounts like family, but also have goals tied to how they are rated in Christopherson. Your success is literally their success. Our Airportal system allows them to be more consultative than other TMCs.

Quality of service is one of the more important features needed in a successful travel management program. Around the clock support and a consultative approach is important, but also superior risk management and industry relations. If you would like to learn more about how Christopherson continually goes above and beyond for our clients, please contact us.

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Business Travel

Defining Business Travel Transaction Fees

In this month’s edition of our definition series, we will be exploring the confusing and often frustrating topic of business travel transaction fees. We’ll define the term, as well as understand its history and additional tips businesses should understand about transaction fees before signing on with a travel management company (TMC).

What are business travel company transaction fees?

On top of the client’s travel costs, these are additional fees to be paid by the client. Transaction, or service fees, are typical in both business travel and leisure travel agencies. They typically cover the travel agency’s time to research, plan and secure the travel itinerary for their client.

No one enjoys paying additional service fees. And what makes these transaction fees feel more unfair from the client’s perspective, is that they are a somewhat recent addition to the process. Originally, vendors like hotels, car services, airlines, etc., would pay a commission to the TMC if they booked their services. Unfortunately everything changed with the advent of the internet.  As it became increasingly popular to book travel through online travel sites, these commissions for TMCs were dropped. Now, most travel management companies require an additional transaction fee for their services to generate needed revenue. In fact, many TMCs were forced to close their doors due to this change in the industry.

So why should companies pay for transaction fees?

The most frequently overlooked reason? Your time is valuable. Consider all of the hoops that come with traveling for business: How long does it usually take to communicate your travel itinerary with colleagues, travel managers or coworkers? Do you need approval from different departments? Is it the same process with hotels and car rentals? What about compliance during and after your trip?

Secondly, most online travel sites actually have service fees! They are just often hidden within the price or saved until the end of the checkout process (under the “taxes and fees” section). Though their sites are free to browse and research, you are often accruing a fee for their services in the end, while also missing out on the additional benefits that come with TMCs; like travel risk management and dedicated after-hours support.

What else should I know?

When looking for a TMC, it’s a no-brainer to discuss transaction fees. But, often overlooked is asking about additional perks or considerations. For example, at Christopherson we often receive perks from our vendor partners. It is our company policy to pass these to our clients. Also, our different divisions, such as our Humanitarian Travel and our Meetings and Events divisions, do not require transaction fees for some of the services offered. Even though the industry itself has changed over the years, most travel agencies still work hard to provide top of the line services, with the lowest overall costs to their clients.

Taking a holistic approach

Overall, it’s important to understand transaction fees within your agreement. But take the time to look at your travel from a holistic standpoint. By utilizing their services and automated processes, even with transaction fees, companies actually enjoy significant ROI in the long run. And more often than not, discover the additional time management benefits that come with streamlined account management, automated travel policy procedures, and 24-hour support.

Have questions about other travel management terms? Check out our posts defining the GDS and corporate travel policies. Contact us to learn more about Christopherson’s view on corporate travel management and how we save our clients time and money, while delivering peace of mind.




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Christopherson Ranks #24 On Travel Weekly’s 2018 Power List


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