Despite airlines’ best efforts, flying can be a stressful experience. However, while we’ve all been known to get a little stressed out during a journey, few of us take it quite as far as one US woman who weaponised the in-flight intercom system during a row with airline staff that quickly turned physical…
Who’d have thought that putting two-hundred people in a metal tube, thousands of feet above the ground, with nowhere for their emotions to be expunged than through their fellow passengers, could ever go wrong? Well, after a week of disgusting seats and cross-cabin urination, it seems that passenger rage is reaching an all-time high.
This theory was further confirmed over the weekend when a female passenger aboard a Frontier Airlines from Denver to Tampa resorted to brutally violent behaviour after an extended altercation with in-flight staff amidst a wider spate of incidents involving unruly passengers has raised concerns around the safety of air travel.
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Frontier Airlines Flight 708 was scheduled for an early Sunday departure but encountered turbulence of an unexpected kind when the passenger was asked to deplane for a short but intense run of belligerent behaviour that had begun to cause arguments and discomfort among passengers
However, instead of tucking her tail between her legs and disembarking with dignity, the woman chose violence: Grabbing the in-flight intercom phone, she “struck” a flight attendant with the device to the shock of her fellow passengers before being swiftly reprimanded by law enforcement.
Denver Police Department later confirmed that the passenger was cited for assault in the aftermath of the altercation. Meanwhile, the flight to Tampa eventually took off around 5:30 a.m. local time, with the ordeal causing a total delay of almost four hours.
The question raised by many in the wake of the incident has been why the woman was only dealt a minor citation and, more immediately, why she was almost instantly released and permitted to book a flight home, suggesting an apparent lack of meaningful consequences for such a violent and inconvenient outburst.
Though the precise circumstances that led up to this incident are unclear, it continues a run of bad press for Frontier who were forced to make an emergency landing en route from Cincinnati in November after discovering that a passenger had snuck a box cutter onto the plane unnoticed.
According to the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA), reports of unruly airline passengers have surged to 670 incidents in 2023. Though shocking, this is still a marked improvement on the all-time high of 5,973 incidents in 2021 and almost 2,500 incidents in 2022.
While the skies were once synonymous with a sense of tranquillity and awe, these incidents serve as a stark reminder of air travel’s changing tenor. A word to the wise, if someone picks up the in-flight phone and says it’s for you, approach with caution.