- A pilot says that flight attendants should be “more strict” with passengers.
- Her comments come after data published in June showed an increase in the rate of unruly passengers in 2022 from 2021.
A private pilot has lashed out at abrasive customers, saying that flight attendants should tell customers they are here to ensure “safety” rather than just being a “server.”
“I’ve seen some bad behavior. People speaking disrespectfully to flight attendants and they, for the most part, ignore it. So I think they could actually be more strict in some sense,” Morgan Gist MacDonald told Fox News Digital in a report published Thursday.
Fox News also lists her as a co-founder of Firefly Aviation. Insider could not independently verify this information.
“We’ve certainly left Cancun, for instance, and people have been drunk on the plane. But somehow, the flight attendants ignore them,” MacDonald said, adding that flight attendants are being “more tolerant” than customers think when dealing with disruptive passengers, said the pilot.
Recent incidents of unruly passenger behavior that the crew had to deal with include a passenger forcing a plane to turn around after he forgot his bag at the airport, another punching a flight attendant in an attempt to jump out of a plane, and a passenger making a fake bomb threat.
Even air industry groups have sounded the alarm on the troubling rate of confrontations between passengers and crew.
The rate of unruly passenger incidents has increased from 2022 to 2021, according to a report by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) published in June.
There was one unruly incident reported for every 568 flights in 2022, rising from one incident for every 835 flights in 2021, said the IATA.
There was also a 61% increase in physical abuse incidences in 2022 from 2021, with one occurring every 17,200 flights in 2022. The IATA’s global data is based on over 20,000 reports submitted by around 40 airlines.
The US Federal Aviation Administration says it handles over 10 million flights each year.
“Obviously the last three years have given us ample reasons for why self defense is an important part of training for flight attendants,” Taylor Garland, a spokesperson for the Association of Flight Attendants, told Politico in a report published August 20.
The Association of Flight Attendants has demanded more self-defense training for crew since 2005, including a provision in a new US Senate aviation bill requiring airlines to give flight attendants training on how to “subdue and restrain” passengers, per Politico.
“The increasing trend of unruly passenger incidents is worrying. Passengers and crew are entitled to a safe and hassle-free experience on board,” said Conrad Clifford, a deputy director general of the IATA, “There is no excuse for not following the instructions of the crew.”
MacDonald did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Insider, sent outside regular business hours.