Unruly Passengers Force United Airlines' Boeing 767 Transatlantic Diversion

United Airlines Flight 883 took off on March 1st, heading to Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) from London Heathrow Airport. N663UA, a Boeing 767-300(ER) aircraft with thirty years of history, was the aircraft used for the flight. There were ten crew members and 150 passengers on board.

The plane was forced to divert to Bangor, Maine, due to an unruly passenger shortly after it entered US airspace. After touching down in Bangor at 09:56, the aircraft took off again at 11:40, or around two hours later.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) classified the crew's actions as potentially life-threatening, and they declared a Level 3 emergency. The presence of guns or serious bomb threats are two instances of this type of behaviour. There are still little details on the incident on UA883, but passengers' video shows an altercation while the disruptive passenger was being removed off the aircraft by law officials.

"United Airlines Flight 883 safely landed at Bangor International Airport in Maine at approximately 10 a.m. on Friday, March 1, following reports of a passenger disturbance," the FAA said in a statement about the incident. The Boeing 767 was headed for Newark Liberty International Airport when it took off from London's Heathrow Airport. Please get in touch with police enforcement for additional information."

Growing Pattern of Unruly Travellers

Since the pandemic ended, there have been more and more incidents of travellers acting out. The LA Times reports that from 2021 to 2022, there was a 47% increase in these events, with 1 out of every 17,200 flights resulting in physical altercations. Although they are still uncommon, there has been a noticeable increase in recent years.

In response to this trend, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) published rules in 2023 that outlined the best ways for airline employees to deal with unruly passengers. Improved training in recognizing, defusing, restraining, and reporting such individuals is emphasised in these guidelines.

Cabin Crew's Reaction to Unruly Conduct

The safety of passengers is the primary responsibility of flight attendants, who receive extensive training to manage a range of problems, including disruptive incidents. Certain protocols are visible, even though the precise protocols are kept secret for safety reasons.

While boarding, flight attendants identify people who can help in an emergency and keep an eye out for aggressive or potentially dangerous behaviour in other passengers. When a passenger becomes unruly while in flight, the crew stops serving alcohol and provides non-alcoholic options. Similar to the response on UA886, flight attendants are taught to detain belligerent customers and work with the flight crew to arrange for a diversion if required.

These occurrences are becoming more common, although they are still uncommon, and flight attendants and pilots on airlines are well-trained and equipped to handle them.

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