- A Ryanair flight to Lanzarote was diverted due to unruly passengers who ignored crew instructions and caused disruptions.
- The flight was delayed by over an hour due to the diversion and one passenger was detained by the Portuguese police.
- Incidents involving disruptive passengers have been on the rise since the pandemic, prompting calls for collaboration in tackling the issue.
A Ryanair flight bound for Lanzarote in the Canary Islands diverted to Faro around two hours into the flight due to unruly passengers who exhibited disruptive behaviors. The incident took place on January 19, and the Portuguese police arrested one individual while seven others removed themselves voluntarily.
According to Aviation24.be, eight passengers were involved in a series of disruptive behaviors, including banging on cabin doors, shouting, consuming alcoholic drinks, and ignoring crew instructions.
The detained passenger is facing charges including “disobedience” and “resistance to a police officer.” Fortunately, the flight was able to continue its journey with the same aircraft and crew after the removal of the disruptive individuals.
According to Flightrader24, flight FR3511 was operated by a Ryanair Boeing 737-800, registered as EI-EFE, and departed London Luton Airport at 8:13 AM local time on January 19. However, the flight made a turn for Faro about two hours into the trip over southern Portugal and landed at the airport at 10:50 AM. The plane sat on the ground in Faro for around 30 minutes, after which it continued to its original destination, Lanzarote.
Recent incidents involving unruly passengers
Several weeks ago, an Australian man started behaving erratically mid-flight on a Qantas flight from Bali to Melbourne. Passengers and crew stepped in to restrain the man, who was recorded as shouting and alleged to have threatened an air hostess, but no diversion occurred, and the flight landed in Melbourne safely.
Ryanair has also seen its fair bit of unruly passengers. In December 2023, a little over a month ago, a Ryanair flight bound for Morocco from London had to turn around due to disruptive passengers and alleged drug use on the flight. The plane returned to London Stansted and was boarded by the UK police force, but no arrest was ultimately made. The passengers on the flight experienced a delay of over five hours due to the incident.
Photo: Nicolas Economou | Shutterstock
Incidents involving unruly and disruptive passengers affect flights to or from vacation destinations disproportionately. Last year, another flight heading to the Canary Islands from the UK was diverted to Portugal due to similar circumstances. The flight was operated by Jet2 and was departing from Edinburgh.
Check out all the latest European aviation news here.
Combating unruly passenger incidents
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of incidents involving unruly passengers has been on the rise. IATA reported that unruly passenger incidents saw a 50% increase in 2022, and the figures showed that one in 568 flights in 2022 experienced an unruly passenger incident.
IATA is pushing for increased collaboration across the industry, including airport authorities, retailers, and other groups. With many in-flight incidents occurring after intoxication before boarding, more parties, including bars, restaurants, and duty-free shops, need to be involved in the process to effectively tackle the issue.
There are signs of improvement as passengers become increasingly aware of the consequences of misbehaving onboard and airlines step up their measures. The latest report from the US suggests that unruly passenger incidents in 2023 are down by 20% compared to 2022 but still remain almost twice as high as pre-pandemic levels.