Travellers have been urged to behave respectfully in airports and on planes over the festive season, with the Australian Federal Police warning they will crack down on troublemakers.
The agency has told passengers to remain on their “nice list” over Christmas, saying it will have “zero tolerance” for bad behaviour.
It comes after the AFP responded to more than 800 aviation alcohol-related incidents at Australian airports in the 12 months to November.
More than 330 alleged offenders faced about 420 charges for their conduct at airports between May and October this year.
AFP Assistant Commissioner Scott Lee said travellers needed to be particularly mindful of how much alcohol they were consuming at airports.
“This is a special time of the year, and the AFP is at airports to keep passengers safe,’’ Mr Lee said.
“The majority of passengers do the right thing, but we know those who do not can be disruptive for other passengers.
“People who are unruly on aircraft should understand that this may mean they will not be allowed to travel and will impact their holiday plans.”
Airlines for Australia and New Zealand chief executive Alison Roberts, said protecting customers and staff was the main objective for authorities.
“While the vast majority of travellers treat each other and airline team members with respect and kindness, unfortunately, as with other industries, there are some people who behave badly,’’ Dr Roberts said.
“We have developed an industry code of conduct aimed at ensuring a consistent approach to preventing and managing disruptive behaviour, and as we head into the busy holiday period, we ask that passengers are respectful to their fellow travellers as well as staff across all airports and airlines.”
Australian Airports chief executive James Goodwin said staff would be working hard to avoid travel disruptions and urged travellers not to take out any frustration on workers.
“Airports will continue to engage with travellers to promote considerate and responsible behaviour, including the responsible service of alcohol within the airport precinct,” Mr Goodwin said.
“We are working hard to get you on your holiday and to your destination safely and urge people not to take out any frustrations on staff or each other as unruly or disrespectful behaviour won’t be tolerated.”
School holiday periods have proved a difficult time for airports this year, with travellers reporting hundreds of flight delays and cancellations, with long security queues and wait times for baggage due to chronic understaffing.
Sydney airport chief executive Geoff Culbert acknowledged that “parts of the operation are still fragile” but said the airport was excited to welcome passengers for a holiday period expected to be the nation’s biggest since 2019.
“We estimate we are around 2000 employees short of where we need to be but are working hard to make sure most passengers will have a typical pre-Covid Christmas experience at the airport – busy but not chaotic,” Mr Culbert said.
“The 10 days leading up to Christmas are going to be the busiest, and we’re continuing to ask passengers to arrive two hours prior to departure for domestic flights and three hours ahead for international.
“As many families head away to enjoy some time off over summer, the staff at Sydney airport will be working around the clock to help get passengers on their way. We want to wish everyone safe and happy travels this Christmas and thank passengers in advance for being kind and patient with each other and with airport staff during this busy period.”
Story Credit: news.com.au