Airlines regularly have to deal with yobbery by a loud minority of Brits travelling to or from their holiday destinations. Half of the culprits on Skyscanner’s worldwide list of the 10 Worst Passenger Incidents involve Brits.
In-flight misbehaviour can easily result in prosecution for endangering an aircraft and most airlines operate a zero tolerance policy, but this doesn’t discourage everyone. In April 2015, two British men were offloaded in Bermuda for their threatening behaviour on a Thomson Airways flight to Mexico. In May, six British men were arrested in Spain after “shocking behaviour while drunk” on board a 7am Ryanair flight from Glasgow Prestwick Airport to Palma, Mallorca. Ryanair has since banned passengers from bringing booze onto some of their flights between Britain and Spanish destinations.
Housewife Carmel Beer from Somerset was jailed for 18 months for aggressing cabin crew on a flight from Montreal to London but it’s usually men who are to blame. On a New York to London flight, 31-year-old Briton Thomas Joyce had to be handcuffed to his seat when he became drunk and violent with crew. He was subsequently jailed for nine months. In May, easyJet removed a Welsh passenger from a Bristol to Mallorca flight for “foul, abusive and threatening language”.
A former American flight attendant has started a website and Facebook page where crew and passengers can anonymously post photos of unruly behaviour on commercial aircraft. Many of the photos are of British passengers. Have a look at www.passengershaming.com
Young Britons are notorious for public drunkenness as testified by Saturday night behaviour in many a town centre but top prize must surely go to a few British holidaymakers in hot destinations where cheap and plentiful booze is the main attraction. Popular prime time British television shows such as Sun, Sex and Suspicious Parents, Magaluf Weekender, What Happens In Kavos, Sun, Sea and A&E and Brits Behaving Badly are based entirely on the drunken antics of many a low-cost sun-dried pommy on cheap binges to Spain or Greece.
The Costa del Slob might well deserve its nickname but loutish behaviour isn’t unique to the great unwashed. A few years ago an employee of the now defunct Trusthouse Forte Hotels told us that room minibars were to be discontinued because executive level British yuppies had been opening the drinks to urinate in them before putting them back. At Nice airport, one member of counter staff was spit on because she couldn’t come up with the free copy of the Financial Times a passenger felt he had a right to. Police were called but the middle-aged man’s justification that “my taxes are paying her salary” didn’t wash and he was carted off. The tax dodge was a rather ludicrous claim when the Briton in question was – and perhaps still is – a resident of Monaco.
Most of us shouldn’t be painted with the same unseemly brush but what is it that makes abhorrent behaviour overseas a trait that seems more often the doing of Britons than of any other nationality? The French or Italians just don’t act that way.