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Part 1

Regulators, Airlines Grapple With Air Rage

How To Address Air Rage

By Annette Santiago/AviationNow.com


From regulators to flight attendants and passengers, everyone is responsible for passenger safety. But when it comes to air rage, no one is quite sure how to keep everyone safe.

Following the much publicized Global Zero Air Rage Day in July, there has been much discussion about the how and why of in-flight violence, but little agreement.


The FAA's new leaflet on bad behavior - "Safety Is Everyone's Responsibility" - came out almost a month after the U.S. flight attendants' union accused government agencies of failing to protect them, and airline passengers, from "the dangers of air rage."

But even flight attendants, on the front lines of air rage, think Feinstein is missing the mark. Limiting the amount of alcohol that can be served on flights could be potentially more damaging, and a few flight attendants cite its ability to calm the nerves of some airline passengers.

"Carriers need to adopt responsible alcohol policies," says Candice Colander, a spokesperson for the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA) Air Safety and Health Dept. "The airlines should train flight attendants to recognize drunken behavior and how to effectively cut off passengers who have had too much."


United was the first airline to distribute the FAA leaflets at hubs across the country.

The AFA points to figures from United for air rage incidents - higher than those kept by FAA - as evidence that air rage incidents, while still freak occurrences, are growing.

"We think the issue [air rage] is prevalent," says United's Meagher. "It's an industry issue and affects our flights and crew."


A sampling of ASRS reports from cabin crewmembers between October 1999 to February 2000 showed that 16 of 50 reports involved incidents of unruly passenger behavior. Three of the sixteen were alcohol-related, two of the sixteen were alcohol/tobacco-related, and one was solely tobacco-related. There was also a drug-related incident involving PCP and two bomb threats.

If alcohol is not a factor in all cases of air rage, then what is it that causes law-abiding citizens to act in a way that not only endangers themselves but others?

"We are living in the age of rage, where more of the 'me' generation times the millions of travelers equals explosive situations," says Leon James, Ph.D., a professor of traffic psychology at University of Hawaii and co-author of Road Rage and Aggressive Driving: Steering Clear of Highway Warfare.

"Air rage is so common that most travelers are unaware that they have it. It's just part of the background feeling that goes along with the stress of travel and transportation," James says.

The AFA, in its air rage report card, pinpointed many of these stresses: oversold flights, crowded planes, small seats, frequent delays, and flight cancellations.

James believes the airlines should, among other things, provide a continuously updated stream of accurate information and elevate the importance of the travelers' comfort.

"Apologize if you can't provide decent seating," he recommends.

James and his colleague Diane Nahl are members of a small community of scholars studying traffic psychology. In 1997 he testified before the House Transportation and Infrastructure subcommittee about aggressive driving and road rage. He believes that the government can approach air rage the same way it has approached road rage, by giving grants to airlines and airports for proper crowd control management training.

"Air rage, like road rage, is the inability to cope with the challenges of congested traffic," he says.

The FAA does not have any immediate plans for action in the fight against air rage, but hopes that the leaflet is a first step in educating the public about the penalties for crew interference.


original here

Interview with Dr. Leon James
IBD Story on Air Rage
  Nancy Gondo  August 2001
It seems that we've been hearing about more and more air rage incidents lately. Why do you think they are on the rise?
If you're a passenger and the person next to you or near you starts acting up, what can you do if anything to try to prevent the situation from escalating?
What should you do if you're stuck in your seat and someone has already erupted in a full-on rage?
What is the airline's role in trying to either prevent or resolve the incident?

Answers here

The Psychology of Air Rage Prevention

by Leon James, Ph.D. and Diane Nahl, Ph.D.

AIR RAGE, like road rage, is the inability to cope with the challenges of congested traffic. Just like aggressive driving and road rage, air rage is so common that most travelers are unaware that they have it. It's just part of the background feeling that goes along with the stress of travel and transportation.

This background below the surface simmering feeling of anger explodes into rage at unpredictable moments. What can the air lines do about it, and what can we do as travelers to reduce the risk of being an air rage perpetrator?


1) Provide a continuous stream of accurate updated information. No five minutes should go by without an update. This should be provided in a variety of formats and media: electric board, signs, announcements, and face to face telling.
2) Elevate the importance of the travelers' comfort. Show that you care about it. Apologize if you can't provide decent seating. Make up for it by giving something else in return so the traveler doesn't feel cheated or neglected.
3) Manage lines better. People should not stand in line when they can sit and wait. People shouldn't have to compete physically with each other for a seat by where they stand. Do not make people start forming a line until you're ready to board them.
4) Follow community building principles to create a social group out of the anonymous people in the waiting room or on the airplane. Encourage discussion among the waiting people. Form a support group out of them so they can assist each other and give each other help, ideas, support.
5) More and better security in waiting rooms so travelers can take a nap without worrying their bags are going to be stolen.


1) Bring things with you to take care of your comfort--warm clothes, pillow, blanket, reading material, snacks, games, etc.
2) Form a mini-support group with one or more fellow travelers. Share and consult with each other on whatever problems are encountered.
3) Come prepared with the right attitude and coping tricks. See our travel emotions education cards for ideas.
4) Have alternate scenarios worked out in case you don't arrive when expected.


These workshops teach positive techniques for managing passenger rage through community-building forces using Compassionate Crowd Management Techniques delivered through Community Crowd Management Workshops for flight crews and airline ground personnel.


There is increasing evidence that crowded spaces become occasions for some people to express violent rage against others present, whether directly responsible or not. Road rage incidents have grown about 12% per year in the past decade. Metro rage and elevator rage are now on the increase. So is air rage in airplanes and at airports. Airlines and authorities are concerned.

There are two approaches available in crowd control and crowd management, one negative, the other positive. Both are essential, and where only one is used, there is less effectiveness. Negative crowd control is what security personnel are now trained for. It is based on law enforcement threat: "You should know that if you do this or that, you can be arrested. We are watching you." When this type of system is in place, it needs to be supplemented with positive crowd management techniques, or else people resist the regulations, and a certain percent can be predicted to openly rebel by creating a "scene" and engaging in aggressive, hostile, and sometimes violent, behavior called "rage."

We are the first to offer positive crowd management techniques, also known as Compassionate Crowd Management in our Community Crowd Management Workshops for flight crews and airline ground personnel. These techniques have been developed for teachers several years ago and are now being applied to this new venue.


  1. Live Demography
  2. Shared Feedback Form
  3. Flying Partner Agreement
  4. Flight Alumni Activities

1. Live Demography

An airline official or other designated person in authority, stands before a crowd in a waiting hall, or on the plane, while waiting or in the air, and announces the activity. This is followed with a series of questions that allow individuals in the crowd to raise the hand or to speak up. Some sample questions:

*How many here are going home and how many are going someplace else?
*How many people here have children traveling with them?
*How many people here have never been on an airplane?
*How many people here have other people waiting for them?
*How many people haven't had a decent meal in more than 24 hours?
*How many people here feel that this has been their worst trip of the year?

Etc. Each time the leader would count and announce the number of hands out loud. After doing this for a few minutes the entire crowd will have released some frustration and feel better because they are no longer an anonymous mass and they've had an occasion to react to each other and to get to trust each other more.

2. Shared Feedback Form

An airline official or other authorized person distributes a Shared Feedback Form explaining that it has to be filled out by two people together. The official should encourage strangers sitting next to each other to fill it out together. This can be done while waiting or in the air, as needed and depending on circumstances. One individual enters the ratings after discussing each item with the other individual and the two agreeing on a compromise answer.

By doing this activity strangers not only become known to each other, thus releasing some of the stress, but their reactions and emotions to annoying or scary events can be discussed together as a legitimate part of answering the Shared Feedback Form.

3. Designated Flying Partner Agreement

This activity can follow the Shared Feedback Form and is especially helpful if the two travelers did well with each other, or see each other as a potential resource for support. This form helps the two make the "designated flying partner" relationship their next step. It lists the various ways they can share thoughts, support each other emotions, and look after one another for the duration of that flight. It helps they sit next to each other on the plane but this is not a necessity since there are other ways of interacting.

4. Flight Alumni Activities

The airline official designates the flight by Name (not just flight number--e.g., Flight 345 Feather Sky, etc.) and informs all travelers that they are Alumni of that unique historical flight when these particular individuals were brought together by fate and risk their lives together, and their comfort and emotions. Everyone receives a flight symbol to keep (button, diploma, gifts, shirt, flag, toy, etc.) as a memory of the event. People can also hand in a form to indicate their interest in an annual Virtual Reunion on the Internet.


Community Crowd Management Techniques follow these principles of community-classroom:

Principle A: Crowdedness can be turned into a community resource.

The external imposition of enforced regulations, called negative crowd control techniques, cannot eliminate resistance, sabotage, and rebellion when the climate includes cynicism and alienation. Alienation and cynicism prevent positive feelings and mutual contact. When people are crowded together and forced into close quarters for hours, they can be led to the right type of positive interactions which can release community-building forces. Under these social forces, individuals change the way they react emotionally and evaluate the situation.

The very condition of being crowded together makes these community-building forces available, similarly to what happens in a natural disaster that unites a town or nation and motivates it to rebuild. Managed collective activities can help release these community-building forces when they create a joint and collective group focus, so that all individuals who are present are focusing jointly on the same item. Size and diversity add to this effect, and so they are turned into an advantage, rather than a burden. MINING CULTURAL DIVERSITY is one of the techniques taught.

Principle B: Community-building forces in a crowd can be released through managed activities.

Positive crowd management techniques are humane and compassionate. They are designed to create a social climate that relieves stress and suspicion in a climate of cynicism and alienation. People are able to handle an unexpected negative experience when the social environment is perceived as favorable or friendly to them. Managed community activities can be viewed as a user-friendly bonus that releases positive feelings of hope and security. These feelings can be expected to transfer to the authorities or airlines, promoting respect and loyalty.

Principle C: Collective decision making is emotionally more intelligent.

As the saying goes, two heads are better than one. When left alone in a crowd, the individual becomes vulnerable to standardized imaginings. These are culturally acquired norms of expressing dissatisfaction (e.g., "They're taking advantage of me." or "I'm a wimp if I let them get away with it." or "If they hurt me, I'm going to hurt them." etc.). When people in a crowd turn to one another and share a focus, the solutions they come up with is superior and tends to avoid the pitfalls one individual can fall into (e.g., "attribution bias" "level of adaptation" "schemas and scripts" etc. -- see this chapter).

Principle D: Expressing rage in public places is a learned "culture tantrum" or norm.

1) generational upbringing (observing parents behave that way; observing TV characters behave that way). "That way" means without civility, or suspending the normal rules of civility. "Normal" in the sense of what we usually and normally do. Another way of saying this: We give ourselves permission to suspend the normal rules of civility. When that happens, rage behavior is being performed.

a) a social philosophy of cynicism must already exist.

b) a sense of alienation or being dis-entitled in some way.

For instance,

lines that are unusually long
or unusually slow
or when we have to sit in the airplane on the ground when it's not moving
or expecting a window seat and not getting one, etc.

People in these types of situations have their expectations violated. They feel they've been robbed of what they are entitled to, and what they have been promised. An elevator that gets stuck, or too crowded for comfort, or takes too long to come, etc.: these are the violations of one's expectations leading to a sense of dis-entitlement, hence alienation.

Now combine (a) and (b) to get dynamite rage: cynicism and disentitlement. People whose social inhibition against violence has been weakened, experience this combination of cynicism and disentitlement as a legitimate opportunity for suspending the rules of civility to which they normally adhere.

This type of LEARNED RAGE can be managed through social forces of community.

To Ease Air Rage Stress
  1. Use a Take-a-Number system for seat arrangement (reduces passenger's anxiety about seating, and avoids long lines at boarding.
  2. Put up a Flip Sign in the immediate boarding area for Count Down to Actual Boarding. This is more accurate than what the electronic signs indicate and calms passengers as they wait.
  3. Create Happenings while people are waiting in the boarding area: A raffle; Hula dancing; Clown walking around; Take Photo sessions; Quiz Board, etc. This distracts passengers from their troubles, keeps them entertained, makes them feel pampered and cooperative.

Principle E: Anonymity is anti-social and interferes with community-building forces.

Strangers can be crowded together in small spaces yet not know what others are thinking or how they are interpreting the situation. This is because the norm is to refrain from communicating except in very limited ways. However, this norm does not apply when a recognized official person addresses the crowd. At that point social energy is released and several individuals suddenly wish to express publicly their opinion or need. However, when the official leaves, the norm of enduring silently takes over again. This has unpredictable consequences because individuals are trapped in their suspicions, standardized imaginings, and attribution errors.

Instead of merely departing, or being a silently present, airline officials have the opportunity of starting group activities that dissolve anonymity. Live Demography, described above, has that desired effect. Once begun, the official can depart for other duties and the group cohesion that was created will continue for some minutes afterwards.

Principles of CCM Compassionate Crowd Management

1 Orienting Officials are to give frequent updates on how long the delay is expected to continue in specific terms (minutes, hours), and what's being done about it.
2 Giving Advice Officials are to give elaborated explanations that cover the consequences and implications of the delay or lack of service as expected.
3 Providing Reassurances Officials are to demonstrate sympathy and compassion by showing that they are recognizing our distressed emotions and are willing to so something about it:  e.g., offering compensation, awards, raffles, entertainment, food, etc.

References to Air Rage Articles

The articles listed below are available at the Skyrage site
  1. Managing Disruptive Passengers: A Survey of the World's Airlines By - Professor Robert Bor - London's Guildhall University
  3. Restaurant Branding in Airlines Survey By - Juline E. Mills "Air Rage Survey By - Haridev S. Basudev
  4. Passenger Risk Management By - Angela Dahlberg
  5. SKYRAGE Research... Selected Disruptive Passenger Reports From 1978 to 1998
  6. The Problem Passenger - A History of Passenger Disruption - 1947 to Present By - Michael Sheffer (03/10/00)
  7. The Royal Aeronautical Society... Homepage Papers and Materials on Disruptive Passengers
  9. Flight Safety Foundation Reports... Homepage Cabin Crew Safety
  10. Transport of Involuntary Passengers By - FSF Editorial Staff
  11. Special ASRS Reporting Form Designed for Cabin Crew By - FSF Editorial Staff
  12. FAA, Pilots and Flight Attendants Propose Measures to Reduce Passenger Interference with Cabin Crews By - FSF Editorial Staff
  14. ASRS... Homepage ASRS Database Report Sets Request ASRS Data Search ASRS Aviation Safety Data
  15. ATA... Homepage Outline to Prosecuting Federal Crimes Committed Against Airline Personnel and Passengers Statement of Robert P. Warren to the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Aviation Subcommittee
  16. CASA... Homepage Unruly passengers
  17. SKYRAGE - A look at how mediation techniques can be used to counter the continuing increase in aggressive behaviour by passengers
  18. CUPE... Homepage Putting the air into airlines The Airline Division's Air Rage Campaign Many Useful Links
  19. DETR... Homepage Analysis of Incident Reports April - October 1999 Analysis of Incident Reports April 1999 - March 2000
  20. FAA... Homepage FAA System Safety Hotline Search FAA Incident Data System Unruly Passenger Statistics Advisory Circular 120 - 34 Advisory Circular 120 - 65 MS WORD Format
  21. Crewmember Interference, Portable Electronic Devices, and Other Passenger Related Requirements.
  22. ICAO... Homepage
  23. ICAO Journal - March 2001
  24. "ICAO study group examines the legal issues related to unruly airline passengers." Page - 15
  25. "Survey of world’s airlines highlights various approaches to handling disruptive passengers." Page - 18
  26. ITF... Homepage Zero Air Rage Initiative
  27. Transport Canada... Homepage Air Rage Campaign Posters Report - Working Group On Prohibition Against Interference With Crew Members
  28. Canadian Transportation Agency ... AN AIR CARRIER'S RIGHT TO BAN UNRULY PASSENGERS
  29. Aviation Regulations... Australia Canada Europe United Kingdom United States
  30. Aviation Law... Institute of Air and Space Law Title 49 Chapter 465 - US Code Title XIV, Chapter 90 - General Laws of Massachusetts Washington State Senate Clarification on Jurisdiction
  31. US Criminal Resource Manual - Definitions... Title 49 General Overview Public Law No. 103-272 Special Aircraft Jurisdiction Title 49 Aircraft Offenses - Venue Interference Crimes Committed Aboard Aircraft
  32. US Case Law - Significant Court Actions... United States v. Calloway United States v. Grossman United States v.Hicks, Canty, and Moore United States v. Meeker
  33. US Legal Opinions...
  34. Texas Law and Airborne Alcohol - 1968
  35. Germany... Unruly Passengers under the Law
  36. Useful Articles... SKY FIGHTING - Aviation Today

The articles listed above are available at the Skyrage site


Sidebar: Fyling the Unfriendly Skies..

tips from the experts on preventing air rage

by Jo Goecke
August 30, 2000

Leon James, Ph.D., and Diane Nahl, Ph.D., are experts on the phenomenon of air rage. Dr. James is a professor of psychology at the University of Hawaii, where he teaches a course on traffic psychology, and Dr. Nahl is a research scientist in the Information and Computer Sciences Department at the same university. They are co-authors of a new book, Road Rage and Aggressive Driving, co-facilitate air rage workshops (point your browser to http://DrDriving.org/airrage.html for more information), and collaborate to write and produce Dr. James’ web site http://DrDriving.org.

They provide the following professional travel tips and techniques for avoiding air rage:


1) Each airline should provide accurate, updated travel information every five minutes, using electric boards, signs, announcements, and personal contact.

2) Staff members should elevate the importance of each passenger’s comfort and apologize, if for any reason, it does not meet this high standard. The staff should compensate any passenger, who is not comfortable, with some tangible goodwill gesture.

3) Staff members should not expect passengers to stand in line when they can sit down to wait. Nor should passengers have to compete physically with each other for a seat next to their place in line. Do not make the passengers start forming a line until crew members are ready to board the passengers.

4) Special trained staff members should provide community-building principles to create a social group out of the anonymous passengers in the waiting room or on the airplane. Encourage discussion among the waiting passengers. Form a passenger support group so they can offer assistance to one another when help is needed.

5) Airline officials should provide tighter security in the waiting rooms so passengers can nap without worrying about their personal possessions, such as carry-on luggage, laptop computers, purses, briefcases, clothing, etc.


1) Passengers should bring things to the airport to ensure personal comfort—warm clothes, pillow, blanket, reading material, snacks, games, etc.

2) Passengers can form a mini-support group with one or more fellow passengers. Share and consult with each other on whatever problems are encountered.

3) Passengers should come prepared with the right attitude and coping tricks.

4) Passengers should always have alternate scenarios worked out in case they do not arrive when expected.

Passenger to Passenger Relations

The Etiquette of Seat Backs and Elbow Room

There are two directions from which air rage can develop--from the airlines or airport authorities, and from other passengers. The latter is called passenger etiquette. Ed Hewitt, Features Editor of The Independent Traveler, has reviewed some of the social forces that operate on shared seating space on tightly packed airplanes.


(FORT WORTH, June 29) The man in charge of American Airlines says he feels your pain when it comes to delays and poor service.

Chairman Donald Carty says he recently sat on an american flight for three hours before it took off, and no one with the Fort Worth-based carrier could tell him why it was late.

Passenger complaints against the airline industry as a whole were up 74 percent in the first four months of the year. Still, Carty says he believes the industry has made progress.

What Congress wants to do

Congress is not about to repeal deregulation. Instead, it will try to ease the pain a little for travelers and take action to create more competition at key hub airports.

Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Ron Wyden, D-Ore., announced in the Senate on Feb. 5 that they would introduce the "Airline Passenger Fairness Act" to establish some minimum standards for customer service and give travelers access to information they need to make decisions about flights.

Airlines must refund the money of any passenger on a flight that is canceled for economic reasons.

Airlines must report all cancellations to DOT, including the flight number, departure time and load factor of the flight canceled. .

Original here

Date: Sat, 14 Jul 2001 04:47:50 -1000

To: DrDriving <DrDriving@DrDriving.org>

Subject: Costa Rica

Dear DrDriving,

I am a flight attendant for Lacsa airlines (Costa Rica, Central America ). We have experience some difficulties with our passengers over the years. We don't have a wide experience with regulations about this issue. We require "tips", to convince the Company to take action about this situation. In fact, because we are from a poor country, our resources to minimize this problem, are very limited. The company is about to reduce the meal quantity, our airports don't have smoking areas (considering that many passengers from south America spend 12 or more hours in our hands), small "leg room", etc. This is becoming our passengers very upset. I am taking this action "on my own". Please guide me, to find the most convincing information, to have proof of the importance of this situation. Thank you very much for your help.


Marco, (senior fligt attendant).

PS: Your page it's been very helpful, Thank you.

Date: Thu, 5 Jul 2001 05:59:16 -1000
To: "'DrDriving@DrDriving.org'" <DrDriving@DrDriving.org>
Subject: AIR RAGE

A comment. I work at Dublin Airport and came across your site. Your advice to airlines is just as applicable to Airport Authorities.


From leon@hawaii.edu Thu Jul 5 11:45:39 2001
Date: Thu, 5 Jul 2001 11:14:05 -1000
Subject: Re: AIR RAGE

Thanks for the thought. I agree that airport authorites also have their share to do in helping people avoid rage. I'd like to hear your thoughts on it since you have experience with this issue.

Leon James
Date: Fri, 27 Jul 2001 11:13:05 -1000
To: DrDriving@DrDriving.org
Subject: Air Rage

I fly around three times a year and I experience air rage in myself in at least one of those flights each year. I see it coming and I know why it happens. I believe that the Association of Flight Attendants have lost sight of what causes this problem. They continue to state that alcohol is the chief problem. I agree that the use of alcohol contributes to air rage but it is not the reason for it. Here are the factors that cause me to become angry while flying.

I think the whole process starts with booking the flights. There is no set price per seat. If I knew that all of the seats where the same price I would have less of a problem. But to know that if I purchase a seat 3 months in advance that it can cost me much more the buying it a couple of days before I travel and take a chance on not getting it, then the stress begins. Feeling that you are not getting any value for the amount of money that you spend doesn't help either. Tack on long lines, slow, surly airline employees, late and cancelled flights, lack of communication by the airlines, overbooked flights, bumped passengers, crowded flights, poor service, lousy food, small seats, no legroom and being elbow to elbow with the person next to you, and I have a big problem. If enough of these happen in the course of a flight I'm as angry as the next person. I have intimidated airline employees on two occasions so I guess this could be considered air rage. I experience these problems more with the large airlines that I fly on (United, US Airways) then the small airlines (Bahamas Air, AeroCoach).

I hope this helps with your research. Thanks!

From leon@hawaii.edu Sun Jul 29 15:19:25 2001
Date: Sun, 29 Jul 2001 15:14:11 -1000
Subject: Re: Air Rage

Hi Michael,

Thanks for your explanation on air rage. I find it very informative to see the passenger's focus. I'm wondering about the details in your mind when acting out rage due to dissatisfaction, anxiety, tiredness, feeling treated unfairly, unjustly, callously. For instance, after giving an employee a rough time, and during it. Do you think it's going to help? Do you blame that individual? Does it matter? Is it civilized? Etc. Do any of these issues crop up in your mind during or after the expression of rageful behavior?

Thanks and Aloha!
Leon James

Date: Mon, 13 Aug 2001 07:05:43 -1000
To: "'leon@hawaii.edu'"
Subject: air rage

Hi, Dr. James -

I just read a report on AviationNow.com about your work on air rage, and I have a question for you. I've witnessed several incidents of air rage, and each one has been set off by seat back angle: the person in front insisting on putting their seat back in the fully reclined position despite the requests (and, eventually, protests) of the person behind them. I suspect that the longer seat backs being used now partly contribute to this problem - the end of the chair in front of you is much more "in your face" than it used to be - and I've often though that the airlines would do better for everyone by simply fixing the seat backs in place so they don't recline at all.

I'm wondering if there's any statistical evidence of this, and in particular whether instances of air rage might be correlated with leg room. With American and United recently increasing their seat pitches on some flights, there should be some data available to examine this with. Do you know of any work that's been done to look specifically at that factor?

Thanks -
Staff Scientist
Honeywell Labs


Date: Mon, 13 Aug 2001 10:48:24 -1000
From: Leon James <leon@hawaii.edu>
Subject: air rage and seat pitch

Hi Vic,

I don't know of such research--would be difficult to do realistically. I think you are right about the seat pitch--here's an article on it by a travel columnist:


Monday, 21 August 2000

Subject: Air Rage: One Cause & Safety Concern

Dear Sir/Madam: I have flown on numerous airlines, essentially traveling around the world some 50 times since 1980 in my business travels between southeast Asia and the east coast of the US.  While I have seen many cases of ignorance of regulations and inconsideration by some (some of whose cultures seem to incorporate non-consideration of others), I really believe the main cause of the exasperation that leads, or at least contributes, to air rage is the appalling lack of personal space available to passengers. The "cattle car" conditions forced on passengers not wishing to spend exorbitant amounts to upgrade on long flights is psychologically distressing and an affront to one's physical being. 

Furthermore, I believe it is also dangerous.  Watching a fully grown middle-aged woman attempt to rise and move away from a middle coach seat is at the best of times (all seat backs up, no personal articles and no adjacent passengers) a jostling, grimacing trial, and in a emergency is extremely terrifying, difficult and dangerous, all the more so for the adjacent subsequently immobilized passengers. I believe that in the quest for profits, the airlines have been allowed to abuse the standards of civility and safety.  As a businessman I don't blame them as they are not called to change, but as a person I resent it.  I know I must hold my anger when I am stepped on, banged in the knee, knocked on the elbow and bumped in the head, and I believe that the FAA, CAA, and other regulating and supervising bodies need to be forced to issue minimum space directives which require more sitting and maneuvering room than that available to most passengers now. Sincerely -- Stephen

Monday, 21 August 2000

Subject: Air Rage

The flying public brings with them the same set of standards and values they

bring to the movies, restaurants, and the highway, none. Their manners and

mores will not change. The airlines should do much more to inhibit passengers from certain freedoms like standing and taking in aisles during flights with someone's ass in another's face. More importantly seats should be restricted from leaning so as to prevent any intrusion into another's already limited uncomfortable space. -- Arthur


Date: Wed, 5 Sep 2001 11:06:13 -1000
From: Leon James <leon@hawaii.edu>
Subject: Re: Request air rage information
On Wed, 5 Sep 2001, Lucy wrote:

> If possible I would like to know the incidence of air rage among business travelers. Are there any statistics or anecdotes that you could pass on to me or refer me to? I have investigated air rage pretty widely on the

Hi, Lucy,

Here are several articles that provide some of the information you requested. Hope this helps. If you have questions about the psychology of air rage, I'm the expert to interview (you probably saw my air rage site at: http://DrDriving.org/rage







Thanks and Aloha!
Leon James


Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 05:29:39 -1000
To: Leon James <leon@hawaii.edu>
Subject: Re: Air Rage

Hi Leon James,

With a little background information on one of the times I experienced rage I think I can answer all of your questions. I had tickets for a small airline out of Fort Lauderdale. I had made my reservations for me and a friend three months in advance. It was the first flight of the morning and we were at the counter before any passengers or employees from the airline had showed up. It was an international flight to the Bahamas so we were there 1/12 hours before flight time. The agent finally arrived 30 minutes before the flight took off. She looked at our tickets and told us "You can't fly out because you didn't confirm your flight at least 24 hours ahead of time." We purchased our tickets through a travel agent and this was not something we were notified of. As far as I was concerned we bought our tickets, we had them in hand and we were first in line. I didn't see where this would be a problem, but it was!

She kept on telling us that we were not flying out. At this point I asked her to call her manager. She refused. This is about the time the rage started. Basically I was in her face, flat out telling her we would be on that flight. I intimidated her so much that she threatened to call the police. I wanted her to but she didn't. Bottom line to the whole episode was the plane wasn't full, we were able to fly out and we started are vacation angry and stressed!

So, to answer your questions, did I think it would help by giving the employee a rough time, Yes! I certainly blame the individual. She had enough authority to either address the problem or try to help out. She did neither. Was it civilized? It depends on your definition. I didn't raise a hand to her, which I think is very uncivilized, but I did show her a behavior that I don't like people doing to me. As far as dwelling on what happened, I did feel a little badly for my behavior but I felt it was justified based on the circumstances. So these thoughts do crop up after the expression of rage but not during it. I hope this helps with what ever you are working on.

As a side note, I have a friend who is a pilot for American Airlines and he has an entirely different take on the whole issue. The ironic part is because of the way that he has to fly to get to his job he has experienced air rage as well. His big complaint is not with the airlines but with the FAA and the lack of communication that they have. He was able to answer many of my questions such as "Why do you sit on a runway for 3 hours?" or "Why do we hear that the plane is late due to weather and then hear it was late because of mechanical difficulty?" He was able to answer these questions and many others. It will help me in the future to keep calm knowing what some of the problems are.

Hi Michael,

Thanks for your explanation on air rage. I find it very informative to see the passenger's focus. I'm wondering about the details in your mind when acting out rage due to dissatisfaction, anxiety, tiredness, feeling treated unfairly, unjustly, callously. For instance, after giving an employee a rough time, and during it. Do you think it's going to help? Do you blame that individual? Does it matter? Is it civilized? Etc. Do any of these issues crop up in your mind during or after the expression of rageful behavior?

Thanks and Aloha!
Leon James

Date: Fri, 7 Sep 2001 19:40:55 -1000
To: DrDriving@DrDriving.org
Subject: Inquiry for an article on Air Rage

Good day to you. My name is Jeffrey and I am a writer for NexC, the Global Hospitality Network. One of our services is NexChange, an online news magazine on the global hospitality, with a worldwide and industry-wide coverage and readership.

I am currently working on an article about 'Air Rage', and I came across DrDriving during my research . I would like to get some input from you on this subject based on your knowledge and experience. My particular focus is on passenger concerns regarding this issue. In my research, I have noticed that most coverage on air rage tends to center on airline policies, and actions of airline industry groups to address the problem, bothin terms of prevention and prosecution of belligerent passengers. I would like to give passengers some practical tips on what to do during an incident of air rage on their flight, as I imagine it can be a difficult experience for them too. Also, I'd like to know if there is a particular type of people who are more likely to behave in a belligerent manner during a flight, or if everyyone is potentially capable of it, and what passengers themselves can do to avoid "suffering" from air rage.

Please let me know if you can help me on this matter, and if so, when are you available for a tele[hone interview. Or, if you would prefer an email interview, please let me know so I can send you a list of questions. You may view the current issue of our news magazine by visiting http://www.nexc.com and following the link to NexChage. I am looking forward to hearing from you.

Best Regards,

Jeffrey Daroy

Date: Wed, 12 Sep 2001 13:52:44 -1000
From: Leon James <leon@hawaii.edu>
Subject: Re: Air Rage

Thanks for your air rage description, Michael Blank. Yes it does help us to understand the problem better. Perhaps what you went through might be called "zeal" rather than "rage." I describe the difference-if you're interested, in a project with my students you can see here:


thanks for your kindness, and

Thanks and Aloha!
Leon James


Date: Wed, 12 Sep 2001 14:19:35 -1000
From: Leon James <leon@hawaii.edu>
Subject: RE: Inquiry for an article on Air Rage
On Sun, 9 Sep 2001, Jeffrey wrote:

> Thank you very much for your reply. I have below a list of questions. I already have a wealth of information from your website, and I'd like to ask for your permission to use some of them for my article.

Hi, Jeffrey,

Yes, you have my permission to quote any part of it. Let me comment on the questions as well:

> 1. What do you think is at the root of all these new manifestations of rage - Air Rage, Road Rage, Parking Rage, Boat Rage, Supermarket Rage and all those "rages" you discuss in your web site?

Air rage, road rage, and other forms of rage expressed in public places have the same origin: our culture or society. We are socialized into an age of rage where expressing anger and vengeance is condoned as a value or norm. It is seen as a right when we feel betrayed or taken advantage of.

> 2. To what extent are "Air Rage" and "Road Rage" similar? Just what sort of behavior constitutes air rage?

Air rage and road rage refer to our emotions and thoughts when under the influence of anger and felt betrayal. Most of the time we do not express these overtly because we don't want to be punished for our violence. But the emotion and desire for violence is there. Sometimes it explodes despite our inhibitions, and then people are hurt physically.

> 3. Is everyone capable of exhibiting disruptive behavior on an airplane, or are there specific types who are more susceptible to air rage?

Are there any steps a person should take in order to avoid exhibiting disruptive behavior during flight? The extremely violent segment of our population is likely to express physical violence while the vast majority rely on their inhibitions. But inhibitions break down unpredictably, which is why we hear people who ordinarily are not violent, suddenly loose it and engage in explosive behavior. The best way to avoid disruptive behavior is to keep strengthening your inhibitions against expressing violence. So when you feel the emotion of rage building in you, be sure to counteract it by lecturing yourself on why not to do it.

> 4. What should passengers do in case of an "air-rage" incident in their flight-how should they deal with it?

Flight attendants should be handling it and are expected to handle passenger behavior. However, befriending your neighbors and acting friendly towards all on the plane, is a good deterrent.

> 5. In your opinion, is the issue on air rage being properly addressed by concerned parties? What are the most important points to be considered?

The most important point to consider with the current increase in air rage behavior is to see it as a breakdown of inner control on the part of many travelers. So we need to provide for people travel emotions education. > 6. Has any airline applied your "Compassionate Crowd Management Techniques"? No, as far as I know, though some airlines I'm told are much better than others in terms of good customer service relations. Airlines need to switch attitudes and come to recognize that they cannot continue to survive as a business if they fail to provide an appropriate psychological atmosphere as part of the service.

Thanks and Aloha!
Leon James

Mental Health and Air Rage
From Google search (August 2007)

compiled by Dr. Leon James

Psychological aspects of the role of cabin crew

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death on board to air rage and any work-related. event that may be traumatic for the individual. In .... mental health: psychological implications for air ...
www.counsellingatwork.org.uk/journal_pdf/acw_spring07_b.pdf -

Passenger Behaviour - Google Books Result

by Robert Bor - 2003 - Transportation - 334 pages
However, systematic investigations into the traumatic psychological effects on passengers are few and far between, for the obvious reason that there is ...

MilkenInstitute.Org > Publications

In the absence of further incidents, the psychological impact of the attacks ... We assume that flight delays and security checks will force travelers to ...

NBRI - The National Business Research Institute - BLOG

But follow through is what’s key here, so when flight delays, lost baggage and .... The psychological impact on employees can directly impact productivity, ...

APA Testimony to House Subcommittee on VA, HUD,

I am submitting testimony on behalf of the American Psychological Association .... Recent increases in air traffic volume and airport delays make these ...

Emerald FullText Article : The consumer’s reaction to delays in


File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat
301) brings home the impact on passengers of the. 2-hr check-in time before flight and the delays around airports and security. The ...
In their opinion, the control attribution can have an indirect impact on the ..... suffered delays in their flight at the airport of Alicante during 1998. ...


File Format: Rich Text Format - View as HTML
The scenario at the Kai Tak airport, which had very big toilet blocks, may have had a psychological impact on airport users, creating and reinforcing their ...

Aviation Mental Health: Psychological Implications for Air ... - Google Books Result

by Robert Bor, Todd Hubbard - 2006 - Transportation - 353 pages
A diagrammatic representation, adapted to represent psychological stress in air ... from travel to the airport, handling luggage, check-in, flight delays, ...

Passenger Behaviour - Google Books Result

by Robert Bor - 2003 - Transportation - 334 pages
Thirdly, there are individual factors that are known to induce physical symptoms in the air that will have a 'psychological' impact. ...

JSTOR: Waiting for Service: The Relationship between Delays and ...

What is the nature of a delay's impact on an overall eval- uation? ...... Osuna, Edgar Elias (1985), "The Psychological Cost of Waiting," Journal of ...


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emitted at or near the airport, creating a severe local impact. Studies show ... (14) existing delays can be controlled by instituting demand management ...

Ganani Column 8/06

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routine delays can run anywhere. from several minutes to several ... psychological impacts that result. from all this lost time. ...

ePrintsUQ - Psychological Impact of Air Travel

Ting, Joseph Y. (2004) Psychological Impact of Air Travel . ... Air-rage (passengers being verbally or physically aggressive or disruptive during flight) ...

CANOE -- CNEWS - Canada: Airlines to have air rage clout

11, 2001, the psychological stress faced by passengers who witness such events has ... "The concern relates to any potential impact upon our operations, ...

Ask the pilot | Salon Technology

Psychological impact, though, is the bigger reason. ... to call "air rage" -- a term that has become almost quaint in the current, overcharged atmosphere. ...


File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat
delays and returning to the gate, and air rage), but staff outside the airport environ- ... physiological impacts on humans in a confined traveling space. ...


File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat - View as HTML
estimates of 300 to 10000 air rage incidents reported per year. .... physical impact of the crash, it also takes a goodly number of psychological resources, ...

"Aviation Psychology". In: Principles and Practice of Travel Medicine

File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat
ter provides an overview of how psychological research. and theories have contributed to an ... called ‘air rage’ as a result of excessive alcohol use (Bor, ...

A Natural History of Human Emotions - Google Books Result

by Stuart Walton - 2006 - History - 410 pages
... from Road Rage and Air Rage to Queuing Rage and the rage felt by individuals ... What is misleading is the suggestion that these are new psychological ...
books.google.com/books?isbn=0802142761... - Note this

SaxonBullock.Com - the official site

Air rage, road rage, trolley rage in supermarkets. ... Urgently shot on digital video, Boyle’s film showed a world where a psychological “Rage virus” has ...

Air Rage Information Resources

Extreme misbehavior by unruly passengers, often called air rage or sky rage, can lead to some tense moments in the air and may even put crew members and ...
www.airsafe.com/issues/rage.htm - 14k - Cached - Similar pages - Note this

Air Rage - A complete guide to Sky Rage and Flight Health

Air rage’ (or sky rage) is the new label for extreme misbehavior by passengers on aircrafts. Frequently covered in the world’s media, cases of air rage and ...
www.flighthealth.org/air-rage.htm - 7k - Cached - Similar pages - Note this

USATODAY.com - Today In the Sky: Archives

Air rage incident costs airline $188000. A British flier’s “booze-fueled rage” during a trans-Atlantic flight cost a Canadian airline nearly $188000, ...
blogs.usatoday.com/sky/2006/09/dddd.html - 70k -

The faces of air rage - Perspective FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin

Some terms generally used to describe air rage have included air rage, (5) sky rage, disruptive passenger syndrome, (6) passenger interference, ...
findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m2194/is_8_72/ai_107930060 - 32k - Cached - Similar pages - Note this

Dealing with Unruly Passengers Is All the Rage World Airline News ...

Numbers Tell the Story Just how much of a problem is sky rage? ... Still, the percentage of total passengers who end up as an air rage statistic is ...
findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0ZCK/is_47_8/ai_53252246 - 29k - Cached - Similar pages - Note this
[ More results from findarticles.com ]

Air Rage: Flight Complaints Soar |Sky News|Home

Sky News - Complaints by air passengers soared last year, according to a consumer watchdog. The chief complaint was anger of flight cancellations.

Rage Rage - Air Rage 1

The AFA, in its air rage report card, pinpointed many of these stresses: oversold .... by Name (not just flight number--e.g., Flight 345 Feather Sky, etc. ...
www.drdriving.org/rages/ - 73k - Cached - Similar pages - Note this

Rage Rage - Air Rage 2

Thank you for being a part of our friendly sky! " If road rage is contagious, then air rage will also be contagious. I am beginning to see more signs of air ...
www.drdriving.org/rages/air2.htm -


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