Published on Monday, August 14, 2017

Cabin crew survey reveals 'shocking' abuse despite code of conduct

Cabin crew union Unite is calling for an even tougher stance on badly behaved air passengers after a survey found the code of conduct isn't working.

A survey of more than 4,000 cabin crew working for British-based airlines showed 87% had witnessed drunken passenger behaviour at UK airports or on flights from UK airports.

And 78% of these said they had witnessed incidents since July 2016, when the code of conduct was introduced.

Unite said the levels of abuse are 'shocking', with more than half of crew saying they had suffered verbal abuse, 20% cited physical abuse and 10% sexual abuse.

"The abuse and disruptive behaviour cabin crew have to contend with in doing their job and ensuring passenger safety would not be tolerated in any other industry or walk of life," said Unite national officer for civil air transport Oliver Richardson.

"It is completely unacceptable and clear that the code of conduct is doing little to stem the tide of drunken and disruptive behaviour a small minority of passengers are indulging in.

"Such behaviour endangers the safety of passengers and crew and should not be tolerated.

"The industry and the government need to recognise that the code of conduct must be given teeth, look at factors such as levels of alcohol consumption prior to flight departures, as well as tougher penalties for the perpetrators of such behaviour.

"We would urge the industry and ministers to join Unite in developing an action plan to rid the skies of disruptive and dangerous behaviour."

Less than one in four respondents, who said they were aware of the code of conduct, thought it had been effective in reducing drunken and disruptive behaviour.

Just 14% said they had seen a reduction in drunken disruptive behaviour on board flights from the UK, while 16% there had been a reduction at UK airports since the code was introduced.

Unite represents nearly 30,000 cabin crew working for a number of UK airlines.

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