Flyers be warned: You could be arrested if drunk or found abusing on flight

Flyers be warned. Drunken behaviour or even smoking aboard a domestic flight could get you offloaded and arrested. And in extreme cases, you could be tied down to your seat till the flight can land safely at its destination. Of course these restraining and punitive measures will be used more quickly if the captain of that flight decides a flyer is a threat to co-passengers' safety in any way.

So in the recent incident aboard an IndiGo flight, where a passenger began fighting with the crew and the captain to demand an apology for flight delay and even allegedly tried to forcefully enter the cockpit - he could have been offloaded immediately and what is worse, the captain could have sought his arrest.

According to a new Civil Aviation Requirement (CAR) issued by regulator DGCA, airlines must institute a mechanism by which unruly flyers are detected early enough - at check-in, at airport lounges and even at the boarding gate.

Also, the onus is on airline staff to politely defuse potential arguments, disagreements. The regulator has also said restraints and other punitive measures should be used when all conciliatory methods have failed. Earlier this year, an unruly passenger aboard an Air India Melbourne-Delhi flight became violent after one drink too many and had to be ultimately tied down to a seat. This incident prompted the DGCA to come out with a fresh set of norms for dealing with such unruly flyers.

The DGCA has said that restraning devices should be used on such passengers only after peaceful means of restraining them have failed. But the regulator has not specified what kind of restraining devices may be used despite airlines earlier seeking permission to carry equipment such as plastic handcuffs on board. The DGCA has also said that passengers should be forewarned about consequences of unruly behaviour through prominent display of information at airport terminal buildings.

For airlines, the regulator has suggested that they devise a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) defining the role of ground staff, flight crew, airline airport manager and airline central operational control to deal with unruly/disruptive passengers while at the airport or on board the aircraft.

The CAR also says every passenger should be informed that he/she could be arrested in case he/she is in any way endangering the safety of the aircraft, is drunk or found smoking and refuses to obey the commander of the aircraft. Also, use of any threatening, abusive or insulting words towards a member of the crew or intentionally interfering with the performance of a crew member could also lead to arrest.

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Updated Date: Dec 21, 2014 17:58:52 IST