38% of flight attendants said in a new survey that they were physically abused by a passenger taking medication during the past year

  • Flight attendants reported a significant amount of verbal and physical misconduct during the prior year from passengers who had taken medication in a new study from Direct Line Insurance Group.
  • 38% of respondents said they had been physically abused by a passenger who had taken medication, while 46% said they had received a verbal insult from a medicated passenger.
  • 7% of respondents said they had been sexually harassed by a medicated passenger.
  • Respondents reported similar levels of misconduct from drunk passengers during the prior year.
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Flight attendants reported a significant amount of verbal and physical misconduct from passengers who had taken medication in a new study from Direct Line Insurance Group.

The company surveyed 100 flight attendants in March about their experiences during the prior year. (The study does not specify which airlines the respondents work for.) 38% of respondents said they had been physically abused by a passenger who had taken medication, while 46% said they had received a verbal insult from a medicated passenger. 7% of respondents said they had been sexually harassed by a medicated passenger.


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68% of respondents said they have seen an increased amount of self-medication from passengers during the prior year, with 33% describing a significant increase. The study lists prescription painkillers as an example of the kind of medication passengers responsible for inappropriate behaviour may have taken, but does not specify other medications that may have been used.

Respondents reported similar levels of misconduct from drunk passengers during the prior year. 28% reported physical abuse from intoxicated passengers, while 46% reported verbal abuse and 8% reported sexual harassment. 54% of respondents said they had seen more passengers under the influence of alcohol they didn’t buy on their flight, with 28% describing a significant increase.

It is shocking to see the scale of abuse flight attendants are forced to endure as they are trapped onboard with self-medicated and drunken passengers behaving erratically and inappropriately,” Tom Bishop, the head of travel insurance at Direct Line, said in a statement.

Are you a flight attendant? Do you have a story to share? Contact this reporter at [email protected].

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