KLM, government and airline industry join hands to tackle unacceptable passenger behaviour


·         Unruly passengers cause problems for airlines
·         KLM has seen a 100% increase in unruly passenger numbers compared to 2019
·         The airline industry and government plan to cooperate more closely to tackle this issue

Unruly passengers cause problems for airlines. Displaying verbally aggressive behaviour or sometimes even physical violence, they can cause safety risks, both on board and in the departure hall. This kind of behaviour often has a major impact on their fellow passengers and crew. And it can also lead to flight diversions and delays. The airline industry and government are already working together to tackle this issue, but intend to do more. On 14 December, all of the parties involved signed a letter of intent to this end.

Among other things, they will examine how passengers can be made more effectively aware of the consequences of their behaviour. They will also examine how staff can be better trained to deal with such incidents. In May, a digital report form was introduced to enable staff to more easily report unruly passengers. Anyone who misbehaves on an aircraft or on the ground needs to be dealt with effectively and it’s important for staff in the aircraft and the departure hall to be aware of the options at their disposal.

Sharing no-fly lists more widely
Airlines keep no-fly lists of passengers who have misbehaved on their aircraft, at Schiphol Airport or at the outdoor stations. The signatories will also be investigating if such information could be shared between all Dutch airlines, subject of course to applicable legislation governing privacy. Within the KLM Group, KLM and Transavia have been sharing passenger data for individuals placed on the no-fly list for unacceptable behaviour on the ground and/or on board since 2022. Passengers are banned from flying with either airline at least for five years if they misbehave on a Transavia or KLM flight.

Huge increase in the number of unruly passengers
KLM has seen a 100% increase in unruly passenger numbers compared to 2019. An average of 30 unruly passengers a month were recorded in 2023, compared to an average of 15 in 2019. Around 60% of the incidents took place on board, with 40% in the depature hall. In more than half of these cases, alcohol played a role.

Flying is one of the safest forms of transport. The fact that some people misbehave on aircraft to the extent that they jeopardise the safety and security of passengers and crew alike is unacceptable. Unfortunately, it’s also becoming more common. It’s important that we make a concerted effort with all the parties involved to further reduce these kinds of incidents.

Mark Harbers, outgoing minister Infrastructure & Water Management

As an airline, the safety and security of our passengers and crew is a top priority. For this reason, we don’t tolerate any form of aggression on board or on the ground. The consequences of passengers misbehaving are severe; it has a major impact on our passengers and our colleagues. No form of physical aggression towards our crew or fellow passengers is tolerated. Unfortunately, we have to note that the number of unruly passengers has increased sharply. What we experience in the air is a reflection of broader society. It’s therefore encouraging that this issue is being addressed jointly by the airline industry and government.

Leen van Duijn, VP KLM Security Services

The parties involved
The letter of intent was signed by Royal Schiphol Group NV, Transavia, KLM, TUI, Corendon Dutch Airlines, the Royal Marechaussee and the public prosecutor’s office. The Netherlands is the third country in Europe to sign a declaration such as this, following the example of Norway and Ireland. The issue features more widely on the international agenda, also at European and international airline organisations including EASA and IATA.