air travel

Incident on Boston-Bound Flight Puts Unruly Passenger Problems in Spotlight

The Federal Aviation Administration reports that there were more than 2,300 incidents involving unruly passengers in 2022

NBC Universal, Inc.

As the video of a violent outburst on a Boston-bound plane goes viral, security experts are sounding the alarm about a surge of unruly passengers in recent years.

The Leominster man accused of causing the chaos on a flight Sunday afternoon is facing federal charges, but it is far from the only scare in the air that has happened recently.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration, there were more than 2,300 reports of unruly passengers in 2022 — 823 of those cases were so severe that they led to investigations. It was the second most violent year in the air after 2021, when close to 1,100 investigations occurred.

"The fact that these incidents are taking place shows that there's a failure in the security protocols," security expert Dr. Alex Delcarmen said.

People on board a flight to Boston were shaken by a violent outburst from a Leominster man who is facing federal charges.

Delcarmen said not only should the safety mechanisms at airport be audited, he also said there should be more training for crewmembers. Flight attendants recently started completing self-defense courses.

"We absolutely need to have reminder trainings, and we also need to have enhanced capability of U.S. marshals on board," Delcarmen said.

Sara Nelson, the president of the Association of Flight Attendants union, said staffing cuts across the airline industry are having an impact on public safety.

Francisco Severo Torres is expected back in court on Thursday, after being held Monday following an initial appearance in federal court.

"When we hade more people at the gate, it was easier to keep an eye out for any red flags before someone would get on to the plane," she said.

The Leominster man is now banned from flying on United Airlines, but Nelson said the incident is another example of why she thinks Congress should enact a federal no-fly list for all unruly passengers.

"If you act out like this on a plane, you should not be able to get on a plane and potentially hurt someone else again," Nelson said.

Contact Us