Flight Diversions For Unruly Passengers Can Cost Airlines A Hefty Chunk Of Change

As we were reminded just yesterday, unruly, aggressive passengers leading to plane diversions has become an unwelcome trend in the air. While those situations are no doubt scary and disruptive for fellow travelers and crew members, they’re also costly. 

For each case in which a passenger threatens crew members or abuses another traveler and the flight makes an emergency landing, airlines are forced to pay up to $200,000, NBC Bay Area reports.

Perry Flint, a spokesperson for the International Air Transport Association, says that while the price of an unscheduled landing can be extremely costly for airlines, they can sometimes recoup those costs by fining passengers.

In fact, passengers can be fined up to $25,000 per incident. But going after the traveler, while helping to off-set costs, could hurt the airline in the long run.

“They are always weighting those kinds of considerations,” Kaplan said of how the airline’s action might be seen by the public.

American Airlines, which was involved in a diverted flight on Tuesday and didn’t press charges against the passenger, says it takes each incident on a case-by-case basis.

Southwest Airlines, which was also involved in an emergency landing over the weekend, tells NBC Bay Area that it takes steps to ensure diversions aren’t needed. A spokesperson says employees are trained to deny boarding to passengers who appear to be drunk, and to handle unruly passengers aboard its flights.

While it might seem like such disruptions and flight diversions occur on a weekly or monthly basis, industry group Airlines for America say the issues aren’t really all that common, just 1 in 130,000 flights include such issues.

Unruly Passengers Can Cost Airlines Up to $200,000 for Diversions [NBC Bay Area]

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