Updated on May 16, 2024.
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Flying is stressful enough, but when people are acting out on the plane, it can make it even worse. Some of these issues can even cause the plane to be grounded, causing costly delays and cancellations for passengers and airlines alike. Here are five of the most common examples of unruly behavior so you know what to avoid on the flight.

Key Takeaways

  • Unruly behavior on planes poses significant safety risks for both passengers and the aircraft. From smoking and vaping to disregarding seatbelt instructions, such actions can lead to accidents, fires, and injuries, prompting airlines to enforce strict consequences to ensure everyone’s safety.
  • Passengers must adhere to airline policies, including the prohibition of smoking and the consumption of personal alcohol during flights. Additionally, respecting the cabin crew and fellow passengers by refraining from disruptive behavior and following instructions contributes to a more harmonious travel experience.
  • Yelling or behaving disrespectfully can escalate situations and result in severe consequences, including ejection from the plane and legal repercussions. Keeping calm and resolving issues in a civil manner can prevent disruptions and maintain a peaceful environment onboard.
  • Passengers should adhere to carry-on luggage regulations to ensure smooth boarding and safety. Trying to circumvent these rules can lead to delays, discomfort for others, and possible penalties.
  • Practicing good travel etiquette, such as being considerate, patient, and culturally aware, fosters a more enjoyable journey for all passengers. Understanding that air travel involves a shared space and adhering to basic etiquette principles can make the flying experience better for everyone involved.


Smoking has been prohibited on flights for over 30 years on most airlines, and with the advent of smokeless vapes, this has become a problem again. Some passengers try to sneak to the bathroom to light up a cigarette or take a hit of their vape.

This is a safety hazard. The open flame is not safe at that altitude and could cause an accidental fire or combustion that could cause serious damage to the person lighting the cigarette and everyone on the plane if the aircraft is damaged. If you are trying to take a hit of a vape, the battery could combust and cause physical harm.

If you are caught smoking or vaping, you will be fined and may be arrested or detained when the plane lands.

Drinking Personal Alcohol

Some people try to sneak their own alcohol on the plane, so even if they are cut off from the in-flight service, they can still partake in their favorite alcoholic beverages. Only the airline is allowed to serve alcohol on the plane.

Even if you buy liquor from the duty-free stores in the airport, they should remain closed during the flight at all times. No open bottles are allowed. The glass bottles can be a safety hazard and should be stowed away safely during the flight.

Yelling and Disrespectful Behavior

Sometimes people act entitled on planes, yelling at the cabin crew and other passengers. This could be fueled by drugs and alcohol, while other times, they may have simply lost their temper.

For whatever reason, this could be cause for consequences if the passenger fails to listen to the staff or threatens others. Often, these passengers go viral on the internet and need to be physically detained and ejected from the plane.

Failure to Fasten Seatbelts

Another common reason that passengers are unruly is that they don’t listen to safety instructions, especially when it comes to fastening their seatbelts. Passengers must fasten it when the sign is on, and the pilot indicates it.

It means that conditions may be bumpy, so you should not be wandering around the plane. However, passengers may not want to listen for any number of reasons. If they do not listen to the cabin crew, they can be a danger to themselves and others around them. If the plane hits turbulence, they could land on another passenger and harm them, so the cabin crew takes this offense seriously.

Not Following Carry-on Rules

What Are the Common Examples Of Unruly Airline Passenger Behaviour?

Some passengers try to skirt the rules and bring more carry-on luggage than they are allowed. This could be that the bag is too big for the overhead container, or they want to bring more than one carry-on and one personal item. They do not want the inconvenience of checking a bag, so they try to make a scene big enough that the cabin crew will just let them do what they want to keep the peace.

Again, this quickly becomes a safety issue, so the passenger may be asked to leave or fined if they do not comply.


It’s not hard to be kind and a good passenger when you are traveling. However, some passengers want to get their way and think that acting out is the only way to get it. Avoid these unruly behaviors if you don’t want to face serious consequences.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Are there any exceptions to the ban on smoking during flights?

No, there are no exceptions to the ban on smoking during flights. Smoking has been prohibited on flights for over 30 years on most airlines, and this includes all types of smoking materials, including cigarettes and smokeless vapes.

  • What should I do if I witness a fellow passenger behaving unruly or disrespectfully on the plane?

If you witness unruly behavior on the plane, the best course of action is to notify a member of the cabin crew immediately. They are trained to handle such situations and will take appropriate measures to de-escalate the situation and ensure the safety of all passengers.

  • Can I bring my own alcohol on board if it’s unopened and purchased from the duty-free store?

No, even if the alcohol is unopened and purchased from the duty-free store, passengers are not allowed to consume their own alcohol on the plane. Only the airline’s designated crew members are permitted to serve alcoholic beverages during the flight.

  • How do airlines handle passengers with genuine medical conditions that may require them to move around during the flight, despite the seatbelt sign being on?

Passengers with genuine medical conditions are encouraged to inform the cabin crew about their situation before the flight or as soon as they board. The cabin crew will work with the passenger to ensure their comfort and safety during the flight. In cases where the seatbelt sign is on due to turbulence or other safety concerns, the cabin crew will make necessary accommodations to ensure the passenger’s well-being.

  • What are the typical fines and penalties imposed on unruly passengers, and how do they vary depending on the severity of the behavior?

The fines and penalties for unruly behavior on planes can vary depending on the airline and the severity of the offense. In many cases, disruptive passengers can face fines ranging from hundreds to thousands of dollars. For more severe cases involving threats to safety or violence, passengers may also face legal action, arrest, and prosecution upon landing. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and other aviation authorities have strict guidelines in place to address such incidents.