If a passenger becomes unruly and the captain decides to land and remove that passenger from the flight, how much does the passenger have to pay the airline for the cost?

In addition, what are the reasons for flight crews to decide whether to divert or continue the flight?

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    $\begingroup$ diverting is for emergencies, a passenger that is a danger to the crew, other passengers or even himself is an emergency $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 6, 2014 at 14:39
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    $\begingroup$ The usual term is "unruly" passenger. $\endgroup$
    – Jan Hudec
    Commented Sep 6, 2014 at 14:58
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    $\begingroup$ Note that such passenger is usually in bigger trouble than just having to pay something. They are often arrested and may face criminal charges as well. $\endgroup$
    – Jan Hudec
    Commented Sep 6, 2014 at 15:01
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    $\begingroup$ Well noted @janhudec. In addition of criminal charges, civil charges are often overlook and forgotten. Any idea how large the sum might be? One possible cost i can think of is hotel bill for the whole plane if flight crews exceed their working hours... $\endgroup$
    – vasin1987
    Commented Sep 6, 2014 at 16:12
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    $\begingroup$ @vasin1987 that no doubt is extremely regional. Civil charges might even be impossible if criminal charges are filed (IANAL, but heard such is the case in some countries). $\endgroup$
    – jwenting
    Commented Sep 10, 2014 at 3:34

1 Answer 1


Unruly passengers can face the following:

  • Monetary fines
  • Prison sentences
  • A ban from that airline

Excerpt from Wikipedia:

In the United States, passengers who disrupt the duties of a flight crew member can face fines up to $25,000 and sometimes lengthy prison sentences.

IATA has a policy for these passengers mentioned here, and more information is here.

ICAO has a detailed document on unruly passenger prevention and management. They have adopted a new protocol to amend the Tokyo Convention.

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    $\begingroup$ Note that these fines aren't always/often to the airline, but are often criminal fines imposed by the government for breaking the law. An airline doesn't usually have the power to fine an individual directly, they would have to file a lawsuit $\endgroup$
    – Jon Story
    Commented Dec 3, 2014 at 13:38
  • $\begingroup$ That's what I was thinking @JonStory. It's a useful answer to consider the criminal penalties, but I'm wondering if there are any limits on the civil penalties. I think that would make this answer more complete. I'm guessing no such limits? $\endgroup$
    – Dannie
    Commented Feb 16, 2019 at 23:12
  • $\begingroup$ There are usually limits on civil penalties, but there aren't many limits on civil damages. So it depends whether the airline chased a fine (civil penalty) or damages/losses. $\endgroup$
    – Jon Story
    Commented Feb 21, 2019 at 14:29

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