seat size. The lack of space to move around in the economy class of an aircraft does fray the nerves of many — especially on long-distance flights. It is likely jealousy toward passengers sipping champagne while seated in a roomy and relaxing seat up front in business class triggers some instances of air rage. Interestingly, the higher-fare passengers similarly do not like economy passengers passing through their cabin either. And that, too, can set off emotional triggers in some passengers, which can also lead to air rage. Airlines say the number of passengers who experience air rage is minuscule when compared to the sheer numbers of people who take flights each year. There is no question, however, that incidents have been increasing. Thanks to increased media attention and platforms, the times when they do take place also garner greater publicity than in the past. This may also be due to the higher degree of potential safety risks caused by unruly passengers in today’s aircraft. Over and above the potential danger these people put the rest of the passengers in through their loss of control, the costs to the airline are significant, especially if an aircraft is forced to divert a flight to the nearest destination to off-load an offender. Notwithstanding the study, it is much more than a class struggle that leads to passenger disruptions on long flights.
It is still believed alcohol is often the key ingredient behind the actions of normally stable people who go berserk when their sensitivities are stretched by some real or perceived action of the flight crew or the other passengers around them. The effect of alcohol at 30,000 feet is much stronger than on the ground, and the impact often creeps up on the heavy drinker. A Sunwing flight on its way to Cuba in 2014 turned around and went to Toronto after two allegedly intoxicated women started smoking in the lavatory, and later got into a fight with each other. In 2013, a drunken individual tried to break into the cockpit on a flight with apparent aim to harm the flight crew. He was overwhelmed by a hockey team of Canadian police officers. (He clearly was not aware of his fellow passengers or he might have behaved differently.) Excessive drinking happens frequently enough to have a nickname attached to it by flight crews. Such passengers are said to be “floozing,” a code word that enables the crew to communicate with one another, almost as a warning to keep a careful watch on the imbibing passenger. While we hear about air rage incidents more frequently today because of modern mass communications, according to wikipedia.com, the first recorded incidence of air rage appears of have taken place in 1947. During a flight from Havana to Miami, a passenger attacked a flight attendant, after first engaging in a fight with another passenger. While alcohol and a form of economy-class syndrome may provide some of the motivations for air rage, there are others. For most people these would be minor or even major irritants, but they would not lead to violence. For those of an unstable nature, whether ongoing or temporary,