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Sunday, August 16, 1998 Published at 18:40 GMT 19:40 UK


Yellow card for 'air rage'

An 'air rage' passenger is restrained on board a British Airways flight

British Airways has announced that anti-social passengers will be issued with written warnings or "yellow cards" from September.

The cards will warn violent or abusive passengers that they could be arrested and are liable for costs if a plane has to be diverted because of their behaviour.

BA says the move has been prompted by a fourfold rise in so-called "air rage" incidents in the last three years.

Last month a BA jet was forced to land in Tenerife after a passenger, believed to be drunk, attempted to force his way into the pilot's cabin during a flight from Rio de Janeiro to London.

A British businessman who threatened to kill the pilot of a BA airliner and head-butt a fellow passenger was fined nearly £6,700 in May.

His flight from London to Florida was forced to divert to Boston because of the incident.

Smoking ban

BA bans smoking on all of its flights and last year around 70% of the 260 serious incidents were smoking-related.

Smoking causes rage in pilots as well.

In July, a pilot on a plane owned by BA bargain flight subsidiary Go kept his passengers waiting on the tarmac for 40 minutes demanding that a passenger who had smoked in the toilets come forward.

BA's Director of Safety, Security and Environment, David Hyde, said he hoped the scheme would help the company to secure prosecutions in court.

"Cabin crew are usually the first in the firing line when it comes to dealing with air rage but they are certainly not alone when it comes to tackling it," he said.

As well as seeking criminal prosecutions, BA is looking into ways to ban problem passengers from its planes permanently.

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