A crackdown on air rage is being demanded after a Jet2 passenger was jailed for two years for trying to open the door of an aircraft in mid-flight.

The Unite union, which represents 25,000 cabin crew working for carriers ranging from British Airways to Ryanair, wants the government to tighten up the laws over how much passengers can drink at airports and on aircraft.

The current rules were condemned as a “regulatory mess” by the union.

Unite was commenting after Chloe Haines was jailed for the incident on a flight from Stansted bound for Turkey in June last year, resulting in two RAF fighter jets being scrambled.

Unite national officer for civil air transport Oliver Richardson said: “This was a serious incident that endangered passengers and crew. Unfortunately, our members are reporting a disturbing increase in such incidents on flights, many of them linked to alcohol consumption.

“The aviation industry has a voluntary code of conduct for dealing with disruptive passengers, but it has proved to be weak and ineffective. We need much stronger preventive measures backed up by legislation.

“We are calling on ministers to introduce legislation that requires the industry to advise passengers what is expected of them in terms of behaviour, and that, in instances of cases of disruptive conduct, this is backed up by a range of sanctions from fines to imprisonment.

“If you go into a pub in the UK, drinkers’ behaviour is governed by laws stretching back to the First World War.

“However, at airports these regulations don’t apply – it is often seen as an alcohol free-for-all which is wide open to abuse. It is a regulatory mess.

“We don’t want to be killjoys and stop sensible drinking for those going on or returning from holiday, but the safety of airlines’ pilots and cabin crew, and passengers must be paramount.”

Unite called for future legislation to include:

  • Passengers be advised at check-in what constitutes an offence and the penalties that could be incurred – in the same way, that passengers are currently advised about what items should not be carried in their luggage
  • widespread signage warning of  the consequences of rowdy behaviour should be displayed in all airports
  • Those displaying anti-social behaviour at security should be barred from continuing on their journey
  • A limit on the purchase and consumption of alcohol after security. Duty-free shops should not sell alcohol that can be broken down into cans, miniatures and small bottles
  • Further checks at boarding so those displaying drunken and disruptive behaviour are not allowed onto aircraft
  • The consumption of  drinks bought at duty-free shops or at the airport should be prohibited
  • Badly behaved passengers to face bans on flying for a set period.