Clinical psychologist Rafiq Lockhat said many factors contributed to a person being unruly on a plane. Photo by Sourav Mishra from Pexels.
Clinical psychologist Rafiq Lockhat said many factors contributed to a person being unruly on a plane. Photo by Sourav Mishra from Pexels.

Air rage and how to deal with it

By Clinton Moodley Time of article published Aug 24, 2021

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The recent violent incidents that have taken place on board flights, especially in the US, has been alarming.

Just this month, a 22-year-old Frontier Airlines passenger was duct-taped to his seat after he allegedly groped the breasts of two flight attendants and assaulted another.

In another incident, a passenger assaulted a Southwest flight attendant when asked to wear a mask.

The stewardess lost two teeth and sustained minor facial injuries.

According to the Association of Flight Attendants spokeswoman Taylor Garland, air rage is the worst it has ever been.

What causes air rage?

Clinical psychologist Rafiq Lockhat said many factors contributed to a person being unruly on a plane.

He said some travellers behave unruly to get viral on social media. In other cases, alcohol, medication (if mixed with alcohol) and irritability due to lack of smoking on long haul flights also play a part.

As cases grow, many travellers are unsure how to deal with air rage and the incidents that come with it.

Lockhat said travellers need to adopt their own coping mechanisms when confronted with any incidents while on a flight.

He said if any incident arises, travellers should let the cabin crew handle the matter.

"Leave it to staff as they are better equipped to handle these incidents. It is best not to get involved as this could escalate matters.

"However, passengers should see if cabin crew require help if the situation directly impacts you or the safety of passengers," he said.

Lockhat explained that it's natural to get anxiety, which can lead to panic for some travellers.

However, he recommends that travellers find coping measures that can calm their anxiety.

These could include breathing techniques (with your mask on), listening to soothing music, watching a movie, or meditating.

"Everyone handles anxiety differently, so find a rhythm that works for you. The last thing one wants is to suffer an anxiety attack or get violent on the flight due to anger. If you are an anxious passenger, you should seek therapy before flying," he added.

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