Videos cover social networks and dominate news headlines.
From verbal clashes to mass brawls, scenes of airplane passengers misbehaving are becoming more familiar on Covid-era travel.
While “air rage” may seem another inevitability of experiencing a pandemic, some parts of the world are seeing fewer disappointments in the sky.
Before the pandemic were in between 100 to 150 reports of naughty passengers in a typical year on US airlines.
In 2021, there were nearly 6,000 of them, according to the Federal Aviation Administration, with about 72% related to mask disputes.
“The problem is mostly the United States,” said Sham Malmquist, a visiting instructor at the Florida College of Aeronautics. “Part of this is absolutely related to the politicization of the pandemic in U.S. politics. In addition, most flight attendants find U.S. passengers more problematic.”
Australia’s major airlines have launched a joint venture companies in 2021 due to the rise of abusive behavior among leaflets. To remind travelers, videos and airport signs were posted bring masks and respectful attitudes on board.
In December 2021, the International Air Transport Association held a panel discussion on unruly passengers, which was immediately followed by a second on “welfare of flight attendants” during a two-day conference in Lisbon, Portugal, in December 2021.
Angus Mordant Bloomberg | Getty Images
There is little news left in Asia about naughty pilots.
“I haven’t heard of any incidents – fasteners, none,” said Jeffrey C. Lowe, CEO of Hong Kong-based Asian Sky Group.
“The schedule of airlines is still significantly reduced,” he said of his travels in Asia. In addition, there is “the earlier adoption of masks in Asia before the pandemic … and, last but not least, a different perception here in Asia of what violates our personal freedoms.”
Wearing masks is a common practice in many Asian countries to prevent the spread or infection. On a CNBC trip the story of Shibuya’s transition to JapanThe 360-degree image shows at least eight masked men near the famous Tokyo intersection – long before the pandemic.
Malmqvist agrees that the issue is “certainly largely cultural.” However, he said, “we cannot rule out that flights in Asia are still so limited that those who fly are under strict control, and the ratio of flight crew to passengers is quite high.”
In addition, Asia has seen fewer tourist travelers, he said, noting that the flyers were “almost exclusively business”.
Korean Airlines has shown that accepting masks helps eliminate crashes in flight.
An airline spokesman initially told CNBC: “We have not seen a significant increase or change in the number of naughty passengers in flight since Covid-19, in part because of social background, when people voluntarily wear face masks.”
A source later issued a second statement stating that the airline had problems with masks, “but these cases did not significantly increase the total number of uncontrolled incidents.”
Similarly, Doha-based Qatar Airways told CNBC: “We have no serious problems … Most of our passengers follow the rules, and there are a small number of them that can be difficult. … The crew tells them to dress well. mask and is very much indebted to her ”.
Other airlines are not speaking.
Thai Airways, EVA Air, Philippines Airlines and Cathay Pacific did not answer CNBC’s questions about unruly passengers on their flights. Without providing further details, Singapore Airlines said the “passengers mostly support” the mask policy.
A Japan Airlines spokesman said: “Unfortunately, we do not share issues in the cabin with the media.” Online media reports show that several Japanese airlines threw masks in flight.
In 2020, Japanese budget carrier Peach Aviation made an unscheduled domestic stop load the passenger from the plane, reports the nonprofit website Nippon.com. The man with the inscription »Japanese crusader without a mask,According to local reports, he has been arrested several times for refusing to wear a mask during flights and in public.
While many airlines may be reluctant to talk, travelers often do not. Witnesses publish many incidents in flight on social networks, where millions can view them and be picked up by the media.
Globally, Twitter users have mentioned “air rage” and unruly incidents with passengers more than 117,000 times during the pandemic, according to Hootsuite, which manages social media.
However, only 1,860 – less than 2% – came from Asian users, according to the data.
In addition, many reports in Asia concerned incidents with passengers that occurred outside the region, said Trish Riswick, a social worker at Hootsuite.
As for users in Asia, she said: “There seems to be a lot of talk that American or European airlines or passengers are disobedient or refuse to wear masks.”
Riswick said her research has sparked several conversations about violating incidents on flights departing from Japan and India.
However, most talk of problematic leaflets during the pandemic came from the United States (56,000+ mentions), followed by Canada and the United Kingdom, according to Hootsuite. The data showed that the largest number of mentions in Asia came from users from India, Japan and Indonesia.
During the pandemic, economic protests took place in Asia – like this rally against South Korea’s labor policy in October 2021 – but marches against masks are much smaller than in other parts of the world.
Nurfota | Getty Images
In the study, the word “fight” was problematic, Riswick said, because the way the term was used varied from continent to continent.
“People in the United States fought to wear masks on planes, and people in India fought for masks to protect themselves,” she said.
One of the limitations of Hootsuite data is language; this study picked up conversations in English only, she said.
However, the discussion of problematic leaflets on Asian Twitter during the pandemic fell by 55%, while globally these conversations have more than tripled, according to the data.
Concluding the study, Riswick said she was most surprised by how outrageous some incidents were – especially those involving flight crews.
“My heart goes out to those who are just trying to do their job,” she said.