PITTSBURGH, PA (KDKA) – It’s a packed weekend to head out of town. But as we start the return to normal, some people are on edge boarding a plane with an uptick in unruly passengers.
The numbers are downright shocking. The FAA reports opening 491 investigations into unruly passengers just this year. That’s the most cases the FAA has opened in a single year in nearly two decades.
So as more flights take off, TSA is arming crew members with defense training.
“I was surprised just how many people were at the airport. Lines everywhere,” said Pittsburgh visitor Kathy Burke.
Some are returning home from vacation while others are off to visit after a long pandemic.
“A lot of us have been home for a long time and getting back out here we want to get where we want to go,” said Ralph Bell, who’s heading to New Mexico.
Bell told KDKA he notices people are more impatient in the airports. In 2021, the number of unruly passenger reports from the FAA is 3,201, which is a concerning statistic for Bell.
“A little skeptical about flying because I read a lot of stuff about it,” Bell said.
There is social media video too. A flight from Los Angeles was forced to make an emergency landing because of a passenger earlier this month.
It even happened this week on a flight heading to Pittsburgh.
“It’s a little scary, we had an incident coming into town. Someone got bumped from the flight and came running down the gangway so the pilot had to slam the door shut,” said Daniel Derendal, who’s traveling to Phoenix.
The crews are the heroes in many of these situations. To give them an extra layer of defense, TSA is starting back up self defense classes for all crew members.
“I think anyone who works in the airline and is on the plane and dealing with passengers should have some type of defense training in these times,” Derendal said.