A new policy will be put in place on 1st January 2020 to solve issues caused by disruptive passengers. Unruly behaviour has been known to affect the safety of passengers, as well as the overall safety of the aircraft.

Montreal Protocol 2014 (MP14) is a policy that aims to stop disruptive behaviour from escalating, by enforcing penalties such as prosecution. The policy will come into effect on New Year’s Day for more than 25 countries – the UK is yet to ratify the international agreement. Disruptive behaviour includes excessive alcohol consumption, physical assault, harassment and smoking to name a few – all of which have the potential to endanger other passengers, as well as crew members and the aircraft itself.

Penalties for this type of behaviour depends on the severity of the action, and can range from paying a fine of up to £5,000 or up to five years in prison. Airlines also have the right to refuse passengers if behaviour poses a threat to the safety of the aircraft, passengers or crew.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) began discussions five years ago to put a strategy in place to make flying safer for passengers and crew. There are several reports that involve aircraft delays and diversions as passengers become aggressive or disruptive to staff or each other. There are financial consequences for passengers who exhibit this type of behaviour – they may find themselves liable for any additional costs the airline incurs, including extra fuel or they may even have to cover the cost of diversion.

According to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), the main reason for diversions is due to disruptive behaviour – the cost of which typically ranges from £10,000-£80,000.

You will not be covered under your travel insurance for any loss you may incur as a result of disruptive behaviour. In fact, most policies will invalidate cover for losses that are related to excessive drinking or drug abuse.

As we get closer to Christmas and airports get busier, there are unfortunately more likely to be alcohol-related disputes. Find out more about the consequences of disruptive behaviour by taking a look at the CAA website.