Unruly passengers bringing fight or flight to Arkansas air travel

Local News

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – In the past few months, the Clinton National Airport has fielded 50 calls about unruly passengers on their flights.

The Federal Aviation Administration says in just the last two days, there’s been more than 5,200 unruly passenger reports nationwide.

That number has gone down significantly in the last several months, but the FAA says there’s still too much misbehavior in the sky and it won’t be tolerated.

As we make a full swing back into travel, some mental health experts say different feelings about COVID rules and regulations can cause people to snap.

“You cram all these people with all these opinions onto one plane and expect them to feel all of a certain way,” said Katie Walker, therapist at Indigo Counseling.

Arkansas travelers just don’t want to deal with that kind of behavior.

“My assumption is that people are on the airplane to have a good time or to get to a destination and don’t have much patience with people who are unruly,” said traveler David Peterson.

Walker says if a fight breaks out on your flight, focus on what you can control like breathing and calming down.

“Because that in itself is a trigger situation because you are physically being trapped in an environment that you don’t want to be in,” Walker said.

And it’s a situation people like 76-year-old Peterson shouldn’t have to worry about.

“Sixty years ago, I was a wrestler,” he said. “I think, perhaps incorrectly, I could tackle somebody and hold them down, but maybe that’s just nuts.”

Travelers say flying on a plane isn’t rocket science.

“It’s sort of kindergarten stuff,” Peterson said. “Wait your turn and be considerate and help each other to have a good flight.”

The FAA partners with the FBI to make sure unruly passengers are prosecuted when warranted.

Since Nov. 4th, the FAA has referred 37 cases to the FBI for criminal prosecution.

In addition to criminal prosecution, unruly passengers could face up to $37,000 in fines per violation.

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