I've found questions on the legality of crew restraining a passenger, but not on the frequency of it. I was personally on a flight in 2016 where they asked over the intercom for off-duty policemen to help control a passenger.

I'm wondering if there are numbers on this, and if it's increasing?

1 Answer 1


For the USA the FAA publishes statistics about unruly passengers, both reported and investigated. I'm guessing that an FAA investigation was probably triggered by a passenger restraint.

There was a big jump in 2021 (probably covid frustration related) and has been trending down since then. At the peak amount it was about 13 investigated incidents per 10k flights, while now its back down to 1.7 per 10k flights.

They give numbers of investigations going back to 1995, but they are absolute and not directly relatable to the "per 10k flights". However the absolute numbers show how out of whack covid made things as the incidents were trending in the 100-300 per year until 2021 hit, and then they jumped to 1099 for that year.

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    I'd note it was probably covid rules frustration related, not covid related. Most restraints were related to passengers refusing to put on a mask.
    – JonathanReez
    Jul 6, 2022 at 21:15
  • I did find those FAA statistics, thanks. I was on a flight in 2014 where a passenger was "restrained" by being forced to sit in a window seat, with two off-duty cops blocking him in. They made an emergency landing and police took him away. I would really like to know if that was reported to the FAA, but maybe after 8 years it's too late? Jul 7, 2022 at 0:14

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