With diverted flights and multiple arrests, the last week has been especially dramatic for airplane passengers. What gives? (Photo: Thinkstock)
There must be something in the air.
It seems like we can’t go more than a few days without hearing a news story about a passenger getting booted from a plane.
And this week, it happened again — three times in just two days!
On Nov. 3, a Wizz Air plane made an emergency landing in Malmo, Sweden, after a passenger attempted to storm the cockpit.
According to reports from Sweden’s Expressen newspaper, the 43-year-old Romanian man leapt out of his seat, shouted, and sprinted to the front of the plane. He was able to kick the cockpit door twice before several male passengers overpowered him and tied him to a seat.
The Wizz Air flight from Bucharest, Romania, to Torp, Norway, was diverted to Malmo, where the man was arrested upon landing. Officials say that there is no evidence that the incident was terror-related, but the passenger will likely be charged with violating aviation laws by endangering other passengers.
While the situation on Wizz Air involved one passenger, a Spirit Air flight made news and ignited claims of racial discrimination when seven African American passengers were removed from the plane for being “disruptive.”
Some of the passengers removed from the plane express their frustrations to a local news reporter. (Photo: CBS2)
On Tuesday, the Dallas-bound flight was still in Los Angeles when a white flight attendant accused a black male traveler of being disruptive when he refused to get up from his seat. CBS2 reports that the man was escorted off of the plane, but when six other black passengers voiced their disapproval about the man’s treatment, they were also removed.
And finally, an American Airlines flight en route from Phoenix to New York made an emergency landing in Wichita, Kansas, after a passenger became disruptive. According to tweets from witnesses on the plane, the unruly man threatened to kill other passengers.
“A flight attendant mentioned there was a security concern, and we’re going to take someone off the plane,” passenger Troy Petrunoff told ABC News. “We were in the air for about an hour and a half when everything went down.”
The plane was met by local law enforcement when it landed in Wichita, and the passenger was arrested.
When did flying become so dramatic? (Photo: Thinkstock)
All of this airplane drama seem outlandish, but unfortunately, these incidents are becoming commonplace.
Last week, a family of nine was removed from a JetBlue plane after a crew member concluded that they posed a risk to the operation of the flight. And on Oct. 28, a woman was handcuffed on a plane after using the the business class bathroom instead of the one located in economy class. After the altercation, the pilot decided to make an emergency landing in Turkey, where the woman was removed from the plane.
So, what’s going on? Are passengers totally out of control? Or are airlines on a power trip?
According to aviation expert Joe Brancatelli, the problem could be attributed to the fact that flight crews have virtually unlimited power on board. “Flight crews tend not only to the police officer, but also the judge, jury, and executioner,” he told Yahoo Travel. “Do crew members overreact? Of course, but in the United States, flight attendants are given incredible discretion.”
But this doesn’t mean that passengers aren’t to blame for some of the drama.
Professor Robert Bor is a specialist in aviation clinical psychology, and attributes some of the unrest to the mental state of passengers before they board the plane.
“People often get on a plane emotionally charged. They can be stressed because of a short connection, an affair with their family, or a work issue,” says Bor. “And then there are people who have a fear of flying, and that can be exhibited in anxious behavior.”
One of the biggest tips Bor recommends for shutting down air rage is to “dial down your sense of entitlement,” which might come in handy should you find yourself involved an in-flight altercation.
“Remember, flying is not going to be a perfect experience,” he advises. “You’re not the only one of the plane. Sometimes things won’t go your way.”
WATCH: Our Guilty Travel Pleasure — Videos of People Getting Kicked Off Flights