Unruly Passenger Attacks Relative on Air Canada Flight: A Troubling Trend in Air Travel


Teenager Arrested After Attacking Relative on Air Canada Flight

Unruly passenger incidents have reached unprecedented levels in recent years, with a shocking incident occurring on a recent Air Canada flight. An out-of-control teenager allegedly attacked one of his own relatives while the plane was in the air. The Wednesday afternoon flight from Toronto to Calgary had to be diverted to Winnipeg, where the 16-year-old suspect was arrested by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

The suspect’s name has not been released due to his age, but law enforcement has confirmed that the victim suffered minor physical injuries and was treated at the scene. The motive behind the assault has not been disclosed.

A Disturbing Trend of Unruly Passengers

This incident is just one example of a troubling trend of unruly passengers that has seen a dramatic increase in recent years. According to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) statistics, the number of unruly passenger reports never exceeded 1,200 between 2017 and 2020. However, in 2021, this number skyrocketed by 492%, reaching a staggering 5,983 incidents.

Unruly Passenger Attacks Relative on Air Canada Flight: A Troubling Trend in Air Travel

Air Canada Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft landing at London Heathrow International Airport in England on Aug. 2, 2019. (Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Flight Attendants Share Shocking Stories

Tyesha Best, a flight attendant at JetBlue Airways and president of the Orlando branch of the Transportation Workers Union Local 579, has witnessed some of the most outrageous behaviors from passengers in recent years. She recounted an incident where a passenger urinated in front of others and hurled derogatory slurs at flight attendants.

FAA statistics in charts showing the increase in unruly passenger reports over the years

The number of unruly airline passengers reached historic levels in 2021 and still hasn’t returned to pre-pandemic levels, according to FAA stats. (FAA)

Best attributes this increase in unruly behavior to the stress caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. She notes that many airlines temporarily suspended alcohol sales on flights due to its contribution to aggressive behavior from passengers.

Federal Action Taken to Address Unruly Passengers

The rise in violence and disruptions on airplanes has prompted federal action in the United States. The FAA has referred over 20 cases of unruly behavior to the FBI for federal prosecution between December 2021 and April 2023. U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg has emphasized that unruly behavior on planes poses serious safety concerns and can result in criminal prosecution and fines of up to ,000 per violation.

Line graph showing the increasing number of unruly passenger reports in June 2017 to June 2023

The number of unruly airline passengers reported every June between June 2017 and June 2023, according to the FAA. (FAA)

Flight Attendants Call for Respect

Flight attendants, like Tyesha Best, are on the front lines of dealing with unruly passengers. They not only have to ensure the safety and comfort of all passengers but also face the risk of physical assault. Best emphasizes that flight attendants are also individuals who want to connect with their families after work, but these incidents cause delays and impact both airline operations and customers.

It is crucial for passengers to show respect and understanding towards airline employees and fellow travelers. By doing so, we can create a more pleasant and safe travel experience for everyone involved.

Read more: Unruly Passengers: The Disturbing Trend Taking Over Air Travel