Airline passenger fined almost $100.000 for bad behavior.


Over the past five years, 53 percent of airlines say the number of unruly passengers has increased, according to the Canada-based International Air Transport Association, which represents 275 airlines. In the past 12 months, 40 percent of airlines had to divert a flight because of a passenger behaving badly, the association adds.

Drinking and drugs seem to play an instrumental role in many of these incidents, with at least 23 percent of all reported cases being linked to such substance abuse. (The IATA contends these numbers are likely to "significantly underestimate" the extent of the problem.) Some routes are known for being rowdier than others: Flights bound for Hawaii and shorter jaunts to Cancun, Mexico, or Las Vegas.

Apparently, transoceanic travel is problematic too. In recent years, British officials have tried to curtail the amount of liquor being served at airport bars and restaurants to passengers killing time before boarding. While subduing out-of-line flyers falls primarily on the flight crew, the prosecution of troublemakers is usually left to the airlines and government attorneys. More often than not, the cases are not pursued.In some situations, jurisdictions are difficult to determine (after all, they are occurring in the air) or prosecutors decide the incident isn't worth the taxpayer-backed cost of building a case. United typically will decide on a case-by-case basis whether to pursue charges while American, the second-largest carrier flying from O'Hare International Airport, counts on law enforcement to take the lead.Increasingly, however, the airline industry is urging prosecutors to pursue the most egregious cases, while also pressing the federal government to levy more administrative fines or court-imposed penalties on unruly passengers. It's understandable that many travelers will bristle at the thought of the airlines getting tougher on the flying public.By now, we're all pretty aware of the litany of indignities while flying, ranging from supertight travel restrictions to cramped airline seats. Toss in...

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