India flight: Unruly passenger physically assaults, abuses crew members

Incident was reported to aviation regulator and traveller handed over to security personnel

By Web Desk

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Published: Tue 30 May 2023, 2:27 PM

A passenger on an Air India flight travelling to New Delhi has been handed over to the airport authority for unruly behaviour. The incident took place on May 29 on flight AI882, and the airline issued a statement on May 30.

An Air India spokesperson on Tuesday said that the "Passenger verbally abused the crew members and then went on to physically assault one of them on board." On landing at Delhi airport, the unruly traveller continued with the unprovoked, aggressive behaviour.


The airline officials handed over the passenger to the security personnel at the airport and the incident was also reported to the regulator.

Amid multiple reports of unruly behaviour by passengers onboard flights, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) in India had issued an advisory to all airlines asking them to take action against such behaviour during flights.


The advisory comes in the wake of a London-bound Air India flight returning to Delhi airport following a mid-air brawl in which a passenger caused "physical harm" to cabin crew members. The advisory also cited several other incidents that have happened in the recent past.

"In the recent past, DGCA has noticed a few incidents of smoking in aircraft, consumption of alcoholic beverages resulting in unruly behaviour, altercations between passengers and sometimes inappropriate touching or sexual harassment by the passengers on board the aircraft during the flight, wherein post holders, pilots and Cabin Crew members have failed to take appropriate actions. Such incidents have the potential of compromising the safety of aircraft operations," read the advisory.

"The individual's/Airline's responsibility for handling incidents of unruly behaviour including smoking in aircraft, consumption of alcoholic beverages resulting in unruly behaviour, altercations between passengers and incidents of inappropriate touching or sexual harassment by the passengers on board the aircraft during the flight have been specified under various provisions of the Aircraft Rules 1937, DGCA regulations. circulars and manuals of Airlines approved/ accepted by DCGA," it read.

The DGCA advised airlines to sensitise their pilots, cabin crew and post-holders on handling unruly passengers.

Unruly passenger behaviour is categorised into three levels by the DGCA. Passengers falling under these categories can be banned from flying for certain periods of time.

Level 1 includes unacceptable behaviour such as physical gestures, verbal harassment and inebriation. Physically abusive behaviour such as pushing, kicking or sexual harassment come under level 2. Life-threatening behaviour such as damage to aircraft operating systems, physical violence such as choking and murderous assault comes under level 3.

An internal committee set up by the airline concerned can decide on the duration of the flying ban.

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