The Drunken Lawless Masses Are Menacing Commercial Flights

There is a lot to feel anxious about when traveling by air: you are in a sealed metal container hurtling through the sky; there could be a supernatural menace lurking in the cargo hold; sometimes they play reruns of Two and a Half Men on the little in-flight TVs.... Increasingly, though, a different type of terror stalks the skies — that of fellow passengers succumbing to Dionysian revelry.

As the Guardian reports, according to the International Air Transport Association — which represents 240 airlines, or about 84% of total air traffic — there has been a significant increase in reports of "unruly passenger incidents." This past year, there were 8,000 reports, a big jump up from 2011, when 6,000 incidents occurred, and a huge leap from 2007 (500 reports). Alcohol, predictably, is the biggest contributing factor to said unruly behavior, with not being allowed to smoke coming in second.

Neither British Airways nor Ryanair would comment on the increase in drunken menaces. British company Monarch Airlines, however, is being proactive about dealing with the teeming hoards:

Since last year, they have been trialling a program at Gatwick Airport in which staff in pubs and Duty Free are requested not to serve drunk passengers, resulting in a 50% reduction in the number of drink related incidents there. Since January, the airline has also been sending out emails to passengers in advance of their flight, warning them of what could happen if they misbehave.

Jane Goodchild, the former cabin crew member who masterminded this plan, said she dreamed it up after noticing that it got very Raft of the Medusa-esque in flights headed to certain destinations at certain times. Take, for example, evening flights to Ibiza. As a spokesperson for the airline put it: "I think people go straight from the flight to the club ... and some of them board the plane already a little worse for wear."

Rich hedonists: stop pre-gaming your Bieber Fight Club matches on airplanes. Please save it for the privacy of your yacht.

Image via Getty.