With 4.5 million passengers set to jet off from the UK during the festive flying period, the Civil Aviation Authority is today warning travellers of the consequences of disruptive behaviour on board an aircraft.
The CAA has revealed more than 326 incidents of disruptive passenger behaviour were reported in the first ten months of the year, the majority of which were alcohol-related and frequently involved abusive and sometimes violent behaviour.
The latest figures mirror previous years, which have seen over 400 incidents reported for each full year.
Although the clear majority of passengers enjoy the experience of trouble-free flying, the CAA is reiterating its call for airlines and enforcement agencies to make better use of laws already in place.
The Civil Aviation Authority will work closely with the industry and government to bring prosecutions against disruptive passengers.
Richard Stephenson, director of the UK Civil Aviation Authority, said: “Everyone wants their holiday flights to be enjoyable and trouble-free this Christmas.
“Drunken and abusive behaviour on an aeroplane is totally unacceptable.
“Not only does it upset everyone else, but it can also jeopardise flight safety.
“Criminal charges should be brought against offenders more often to act as a deterrent - passengers need to know they will face the legal consequences of disorderly behaviour.”
Offenders can be jailed for up to five years for endangering the safety of an aircraft.
They can also be charged with specific offences of being drunk on board an aircraft and for acting in a disruptive manner.
Smoking and failing to obey the commands of the captain are also against the law and can be punished by a fine or imprisonment.