Dutch flag carrier KLM says there is an “urgent need” for an international ‘no fly list’ of unruly passengers that could be shared between airlines. The ‘no fly list’ would prevent a passenger banned by one airline for disruptive, unruly or violent behaviour from flying with any other airline.
“Unruly passengers have a major impact on other passengers and our staff,” commented KLM’s executive vice president of inflight services Paul Terstegge on Monday.
The airline revealed that it was currently banning around five passengers a month on average for unruly behaviour but those passengers can go on to fly with any other airline and staff have no idea of their previous behaviour.
Despite the drop in travel demand, disruptive behaviour spiked during the pandemic before subsiding as travel restrictions were eased. Terstegge warns, however, that unruly passenger incidents are yet again on the rise and the severity of these incidents has prompted action.
“Any form of physical violence towards crew or passengers is unacceptable. Such behaviour also leads to delays, which is very annoying for passengers and expensive for airlines,” Terstegge continued.
KLM said on Monday that it would share data about unruly passengers with low-cost Dutch airline Transavia which is a wholly owned subsidiary of KLM. Terstegge believes KLM and Transavia are the two airlines in the world to have implemented a system whereby a ban from one is a ban from the other.
Despite being members of the same airline group, the airlines didn’t previously share unruly passenger information because they were “dealing with complex and sometimes confusing regulation”.
“The challenge now is to take this a step further in the Netherlands and, perhaps, across Europe,” the airline said in a statement.
Earlier this year, Delta Air Lines led a campaign in the United States for a national ‘no fly list’ of unruly passengers, but it was an idea that the Biden administration has, so far, refused to implement.
KLM’s suggestion raises important human rights considerations which could prove particularly tricky in Europe.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.