The union for airline cabin crew is offering its support to Air New Zealand staff involved in an incident on board a long distance flight yesterday.

A man who had to be handcuffed in-flight because of alleged bad behaviour, was taken into police custody when the flight landed.

Savage from Et Tu union said crew and airlines are telling the union that there is an increasing number of unruly passengers.


"We don't have the data yet to look at how many serious incidents are occurring, but we're certainly concerned that there does appear to be a pattern of people taking out their frustrations under the influence of alcohol, especially on cabin crew.

"Cabin crew are very professional in what they do and they constantly train to deal with all kinds of threats and emergencies, so cabin crew can deal with these situations but obviously they're not desirable and they shouldn't be happening."

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Savage said the union will talk to airlines flying out of New Zealand to find out how many incidents are occurring and whether more needs to be done to stop them happening.

Air New Zealand said it will not tolerate poor behaviour towards staff and other customers.

General manager cabin crew Leeanne Langridge said: "Unfortunately, we've seen an increase in verbal and physical abuse and poor attitudes towards our staff in the past year as more customers try to consume too much alcohol, and in some cases do so when on medication or in a state of extreme over tiredness."

She said their behaviour impacted on those they were travelling with, other customers and the airline's staff.

"The safety of our crew and customers is paramount and Air New Zealand will issue offending customers with travel bans should they fail to comply with crew instructions."