What to do if a passenger panics in an airplane

May 31, 2023 - 03:20
What to do if a passenger panics in an airplane
Image by Olivier89 / Pixabay

Encountering a passenger who panics and starts acting aggressively can be a challenging and potentially dangerous situation, especially in a confined space like an airplane or other public transport. If you find yourself in such a situation, it's essential to prioritize the safety and well-being of all passengers and crew. Here are some steps to take if you encounter an aggressive passenger:

  1. Stay calm and alert: As a fellow passenger or bystander, try to remain calm and composed. Avoid escalating the situation by reacting emotionally or confrontationally.

  2. Notify the crew: Immediately inform the crew or the responsible authority. They are trained to handle such situations and can take appropriate action.

  3. Try to keep a safe distance: If the aggressive passenger poses a threat to others, try to keep keep a safe distance from them to avoid getting involved in the conflict. Encourage others around you to do the same.

  4. Don't engage or provoke: Avoid engaging with the aggressive passenger or provoking them further. Refrain from arguing or getting into a physical altercation, as this can escalate the situation.

  5. Assist the crew if needed: If the crew requests assistance, follow their instructions carefully and cooperatively. They may ask passengers to relocate to other seats or provide assistance if the situation requires it.

  6. Create a barrier: If possible, create a physical barrier between the aggressive passenger and others, using available seats or any other objects.

  7. Seek help from other passengers: If the situation becomes critical, ask other passengers for assistance if they feel comfortable doing so. Sometimes, a collective response can help de-escalate the situation.

  8. Use communication skills: If you have relevant training or experience in de-escalation or communication, attempt to use those skills to defuse the situation without antagonizing the individual further.

  9. Follow crew instructions: Follow any instructions given by the crew or authorities, as they are focused on maintaining safety and restoring order.

  10. After the incident: If the situation is resolved, cooperate with the crew or authorities in providing any necessary information or statements to help them handle the aftermath of the incident.

Remember, your safety and the safety of others are paramount. Do not take unnecessary risks in attempting to handle the situation yourself. Let the trained professionals, such as flight attendants or transport personnel, take charge of managing the aggressive passenger.

Ana Dedeus Member of EA Coordination Team