Nearly one in six Ryanair passengers have been on a flight with a disruptive passenger in the last year, according to a new Which? Travel survey.
The budget carrier tops the consumer champion’s rankings of shame in the skies, with Thomas Cook (15 per cent) and TUI (14 per cent) coming in second and third place respectively.
easyJet (13 per cent) was ranked fourth.
Overall, one in ten passengers reported that they had experienced a flight blighted by shouting, drunkenness, verbal abuse or other obnoxious behaviour.
Which? heard from one holidaymaker who said an enraged fellow passenger had to be “wrestled to the floor” by an off-duty policeman when they were refused more alcohol after downing four vodkas.
Another passenger told of a flight from Newcastle to Alicante where a drunken stag party tried to set fire to a seat cover.
The results raise concerns about how effectively airlines are managing troublesome passengers, particularly those who are drunk, with Which? Travel receiving numerous complaints of already drunk passengers being served more alcohol on-board.
According to the Civil Aviation Authority, there was an average of 186 disruptive passenger incidents a year on flights between 2012 and 2016.
In 2017, that number had jumped to 417.
Airlines have acknowledged there’s a problem.
However, the approach of some carriers – who often incentivise crew to sell a range of products on-board by paying commission – to tackling the issue doesn’t stand up to scrutiny.
The CAA has called for more prosecutions of passengers who break the law on board, and airport schemes, such as one in place at Glasgow, have had some success in reducing drunken behaviour.
Rory Boland, Which? Travel editor, said: “People should be able to take a flight without having to worry about their trip being disrupted or journey diverted by rowdy passengers who have had one too many.
“Airlines need to take more responsibility for preventing passengers having too many drinks, and incentivising cabin staff to flog more gin and tonics isn’t the right way to do that.
“Many of us like to enjoy a drink when heading off on holiday, and any measures taken by the aviation industry – and airlines in particular – should be aimed at those who go too far.”