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Steep rise in number of air passengers arrested for drunken behaviour

UK airports reported 387 arrests to this February, as cabin crews complain about abusive behaviour on flights, according to BBCs Panorama

The number of passengers arrested for drunken behaviour on flights or at UK airports increased by 50% in the past year.

There were a total of 387 arrests in the year to February 2017, up from 255 in the period from February 2015 to 2016, according to statistics obtained by BBC1s Panorama.

The figures came in responses from 18 out of 20 police forces with a major UK airport on their patch, which were contacted by the programme.

Ally Murphy, a former Virgin Airlines cabin crew manager, told Panorama: People just see us as barmaids in the sky. I was pulled into an upper-class bed by a passenger who was feeling particularly lucky, I guess. They would touch your breasts, or theyd touch your bum or your legs, or Ive had hands going up my skirt before. Its rage inducing and you shouldnt have to deal with that.

I guess I never reported it to the police because, sadly, and this is completely wrong and only really occurring to me now, you kind of just accept it as part of the job. And it shouldnt be.

Another cabin crew member, who was unnamed in the programme, said airline workers had found countless litre bottles of vodka brought by passengers and they felt that some of the worst routes were to the Spanish airports of Alicante, Ibiza and Palma.

Alexandra Wilms, of the Balearic ministry of tourism, called for high fines to try to deal with the problem as these kinds of people dont understand any other thing than really getting punished by paying a lot of money.

The chief executive of the Airport Operators Association, Karen Dee, rejected suggestions that airports were irresponsibly selling alcohol. She said: The sale of alcohol per se is not a problem. Its the misuse of it and drinking to excess and then behaving badly.

Panorama points out that the UK aviation industry brought in a voluntary code a year ago. It recommends that airports and airlines should work together to limit disruptive behaviour and sell alcohol responsibly. Most of the big airlines and airports have signed up to this.

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