There was one disturbance reported for every 568 flights last year, up from one in 835 flights in 2021, the International Air Transport Association (Iata) said.
Iata, a trade association of airlines, is urging national governments to prosecute passengers over disorderly behaviour.
“The increasing trend of unruly passenger incidents is worrying,” said Iata deputy director general Conrad Clifford.
“Passengers and crew are entitled to a safe and hassle-free experience on board. For that, passengers must comply with crew instructions.
“While our professional crews are well trained to manage unruly passenger scenarios, it is unacceptable that rules in place for everyone’s safety are disobeyed by a small but persistent minority of passengers. There is no excuse for not following the instructions of the crew.”
Physical abuse by passengers remains rare but there was still an increase of 61 per cent from 2021, with one every 17,200 flights.
The most common incidents last year involved non-compliance, verbal abuse and intoxication. They most often involved smoking or vaping in lavatories, failing to fasten seatbelts when required, and exceeding carry-on baggage allowance or failing to store bagged when asked.
Iata wants governments to ratify the Montreal Protocol 2014 that outlines a convention on offences committed on board planes. So far 45 nations, comprising 33 per cent of international passengers, have adopted the protocol, Iata said.
The body also called for more work done on de-escalation techniques – both on the ground, for example in airport restaurants, and in improving training for aircrews.
Mr Clifford added: “No one wants to stop people having a good time when they go on holiday – but we all have a responsibility to behave with respect for other passengers and the crew.
“For the sake of the majority, we make no apology for seeking to crack down on the bad behaviour of a tiny number of travellers who can make a flight very uncomfortable for everyone else.”2023-06-05T12:31:09Z dg43tfdfdgfd