As scary as air travel may already be to some people, recent incidents have shown that turbulent behaviour from flight passengers — even cabin crew — can be an unforeseen cause of anxiety.
Take this week's mid-air incident involving JetBlue captain Clayton Osbon, who had to be forcibly restrained by passengers after reportedly running down the aisle and screaming incoherently about terrorists. Fortunately, a co-pilot had the presence of mind to take over controls in the cockpit and with the help of a pilot who happened to be on the flight, managed to land the commercial jet safely in Texas.
But the Osbon incident was far from an isolated one in the airline industry. Below are a six other recent examples of disruptive on-board meltdowns:
1. American Airlines flight attendant's 'crash' rants
A female American Airlines flight attendant was removed from a plane earlier this month after ranting about a possible crash over the public address system.
The unidentified flight attendant babbled over the system about technical problems with the plane, saying, "Captain, I can't be responsible for crashing this plane."
The incident at the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport led the pilot to taxi back to the gate, where the flight attendant received a psychiatric evaluation.
Alec Baldwin booted for playing Words with Friends
Actor Alec Baldwin was booted from an American Airlines flight at Los Angeles International Airport in December for playing a game on his cellphone.
The 30 Rock star was playing Words with Friends as his plane idled at the gate. He left the plane and boarded another flight to New York. Baldwin lashed out on Twitter, saying that he had been "reamed out" by a flight attendant.
"He loves Words with Friends so much that he was willing to leave a plane for it," said Baldwin's spokesman, Matthew Hiltzik.
In a later Facebook posting, the airline said an "extremely vocal" passenger was rude to the crew and used offensive language.
RIM execs' rowdy behaviour
A pair of drunken executives with Ontario's Research in Motion, makers of the BlackBerry, reportedly caused chaos on board an Air Canada flight to Toronto from Beijing in December.
According to court documents, flight attendants said their antics included assaulting cabin crew and threatening fellow passengers. At one point, one man laid belly-down in the aisle and began kicking the floor, a crew member said.
Crew members handcuffed both men with plastic restraints and tape, which the pair "chewed their way through," according to court documents.
JetBlue's Steven Slater makes quick exit
Steven Slater became a folk hero to some for the attention-grabbing way he quit his job as a JetBlue flight attendant.
Slater's flight had just landed at New York's John F. Kennedy Airport when he got into an altercation with a female passenger who stood before the plane came to a halt. He used the loudspeaker to curse at the passengers, grabbed a beer and slid down the plane's emergency chute.
Slater pleaded guilty to attempted criminal mischief for the 2010 incident. He was ordered to undergo a year of counselling and treatment for substance abuse. He'd worked in the airline industry for about 20 years.
Air Canada co-pilot flips out
In 2008, shocked passengers aboard an Air Canada flight bound for London from Toronto watched in horror as crew members forcibly removed, then restrained and sedated a co-pilot who had become belligerent.
The 58-year-old co-pilot had apparently suffered a nervous breakdown. A flight attendant with a flight licence took over some cockpit duties and helped to make an emergency landing in Ireland, where the co-pilot was taken for psychiatric care.
Gerard Depardieu makes a mess
Gerard Depardieu's Paris-to-Dublin flight was delayed when the French actor urinated on the floor of the plane.
The actor wanted to use the restroom ahead of the delayed flight's takeoff last summer, but the cabin crew told him to remain seated. In response, Depardieu reportedly urinated on the floor.
The actor later spoofed the incident in a video.