Airlines May Leave Aggressive Passengers without a Flight
|2011 08 30|
The carry-on baggage of a passenger departing to London did not comply with the airline requirements; hence, the passenger was requested to pay an excess baggage charge and warned that he might be denied access on board with such baggage. Such a situation made a 32-year old male erupt in anger – loaded with four-letter words, he assaulted the servicing personnel. The incident is currently under police investigation; the passenger has been prevented from leaving Lithuania and he will be prosecuted.
According to Ričardas Martinaitis, Director of VIA Aviation Security Department, a violent case of such type is the first at Vilnius Airport. However, there are a number of cases when passengers are ordered to get off the plane before take-off or are denied access on board. “Last week as many as 3 passengers asserted to carry explosives when asked mandatory security questions by the ground service personnel at the time of check-in. Even though they apologised afterwards and claimed to have made a joke, according to the rules of aviation security, such claims, made in a serious form, are deemed a serious threat to aviation security. Such cases are reported to police and the aircraft crew, and the pilot in command decides whether to admit such a “joking” passenger on board or not. Usually, the access for such passengers on board is denied,” Ričardas Martinaitis says.
According to the data of the Aviation Security Department of Vilnius Airport, in 2010 the total number of similar threat reports on explosives and other dangerous items accounted for 11, whereas this year the number already amounts to as many as 16. According to Ričardas Martinaitis, by such cases passengers inflict losses on themselves: they lose the money spent for purchasing a ticket; they are subject to administrative liability and a cash fine. Also, the cases of passengers causing conflict situations under the influence of alcohol or in aggressive mood are very common. Usually, aggressive conduct makes their journey end at VIA Police Subdivision where they are imposed fines for hooliganism, and the access on board for them is denied. Last week alone two foreign nationals were administered such fines.
Belated arrival is yet another common reason which results in the refused access to board an aircraft. “About 4 cases when passengers are late for a flight due to negligent approach to the information – the time and place of check-in and boarding – specified on their ticket happen every day,” says Ričardas Martinaitis. “The airlines comply with their rules – the waiting time for passengers is as long as specified in the flight plan, and the latecomers lose the opportunity to travel to the intended destination.” Low fare airlines apply stricter requirements for the time limits anticipated for passenger check-in or boarding, including baggage weight, size and number of units.
The rights and obligations of airlines operating at Vilnius Airport and passengers are laid down by Order No. 3-147 of the Minister of Transport and Communications of the Republic of Lithuania “On the Approval of the Rules for Carriage of Passengers, Baggage, Mail and Freight by Air”. The passenger’s ticket constitutes an agreement between the passenger and the airline providing for the conditions of passenger carriage during a specific flight, the rules that the passenger must comply with and the obligations of the airline in respect of the passenger. If the obligations are not met, the airline is entitled to refuse the carriage of the passenger, and if the airline infringes the passenger’s rights, it shall cover the damages incurred by the passenger.