Figures for the past four years show there were 232 unruly passenger infringement notices issued in New Zealand.
The Civil Aviation Authority figures show there were 572 cases reported, including unruly behaviour, intoxicated passengers and passengers smoking.
This week Air New Zealand said it would take a hard line on unruly passengers and revealed the number of warnings and bans of up to five years had spiked in the past year.
Much of the poor behaviour was blamed on drinking too much.
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'We're seeing more instances of customers trying to overindulge in alcohol in lounges or in-flight. The upshot of the poor behavior is that we have issued 15 per cent more warning letters to customers this year and seen a 60 percent lift in the number of customers who have been banned from travel on the airline for between one and five years,'' said the airline's chief operational integrity and standards officer David Morgan.
The airline didn't disclose the number of bans.
Infringement notices can be issued by AvSec staff, CAA regulatory investigation unit staff or the police.
Most of the offence notices are issued under Section 65 of the Civil Aviation Act which also includes failure to comply with crew instruction to sit down and/or fasten a seatbelt.
Offences can range to physical violence against crew and other passengers.
Penalties vary but use of a phone when it should have been in flight mode cost Transport Minister Phil Twyford $500 last year.
A CAA spokesman said that when it comes to unruly passengers, the authority has jurisdiction for all NZ-registered aircraft and any overseas aircraft where the flight originated from New Zealand.
However, an international airline may sometimes elect to manage the unruly passengers in their home country.
While Air NZ is taking a tougher line, the authority figures show behaviour in the past year has improved with unruly passenger reports falling from 76 in 2018 to 59, intoxication down from 23 to 15 and smoking down from 33 to 27. Numbers peaked in 2017 when there was a total of 154 complaints.
According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), six out of 10 incidences involving unruly passengers actually go unpunished.
The association found that one out of every 1053 flights had reports of unruliness in 2017, which is an increase from one out of every 1424 flights the year before.
"Everybody on board is entitled to enjoy a journey free from abusive or other unacceptable behavior," said Alexandre de Juniac, director general and chief executive of IATA.
He said the deterrent to unruly behavior is weak.
However, the closure last month of a loophole in an international treaty may mean it will be easier to crack down on unruly behaviour from the start of 2020.
This follows the ratification of MP14 by Nigeria, the 22nd state to do so.
Properly named the Protocol to Amend the Convention on Offences and Certain Other Acts Committed on Board Aircraft, is a global treaty that strengthens the powers of states to prosecute unruly passengers.
It closes a legal gap under the Tokyo Convention 1963, whereby jurisdiction over offences committed on board international flights rests with the state where the aircraft is registered.
This causes issues when unruly passengers are delivered to the authorities upon landing in foreign territories. They are often reluctant to take action.
IATA says about a quarter of cases involved passengers who were drunk or on drugs, and another quarter involved people smoking, IATA says.
Most are minor, but the association says 4 percent involved behavior it defines as the most serious, like a passenger trying to get into the cockpit.
On a recent flight in Russia a man who was reportedly behaving like a ''wild bear'' had to be restrained after trying to break into the cockpit in order to "have a word" with the pilot.
The man was tackled by fellow passengers and duct-taped to a seat in business class.
Cabin crew typically have access to plastic restraints and have the power to restrain out of control passengers.The Washington Post reports airlines have been beefing up crew training for dealing with stroppy travelers and have options short of criminal prosecution for dealing with people whose behavior creates a safety problem.
That can include issuing six-figure bills, as the British airline Jet2 did this summer when it charged a woman who tried to open a door mid flight US$106,000 (NZ160,000)
In the United States, unruly passengers can face criminal prosecution or fines up to US$25,000 from the Federal Aviation Administration. The agency pursued 120 cases in 2018.