Rise In Air Travel Violence at Atlanta’s Airport

A national trend of increased violence and aggressive disrespect for airport employees and passengers is pervading the nation’s airports.  The director of the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport exclaims some passengers are becoming “increasingly violent and cases are on the rise.” 

Balram Bheodari, referred to as Atlanta’s “airport boss,” speaking to the Atlanta City Council late last week, claimed “The ugly behavior is occurring both inside the airport and up in the skies.” See FOX 5 embedded video which presents statements of airport employees commenting on the increase in violence. An Atlanta airport worker is heard stating the unruly passenger behavior, including violent outbursts, is on the rise. The above-referred Balram Bheodari told Atlanta City Council members he discussed the trend with the top 20 airport directors across the country during a conference call.  

Examples of airline employees and passengers being attacked  are presented in the video. One aggressor sprayed a passenger with a fire extinguisher on the concourse. Another passenger had her hand bitten by an attacker. The narrator opined that most, if not all the aggressive behavior is committed by people who have consumed alcohol, presumably excessively. The most volatile situations occur when gate personnel advise travelers they cannot board the aircraft.  

Bheodari said he was on a conference call with the leaders of the top twenty US facilities “and all the directors said the same thing—the behavior had gotten out of hand.” At the Council meeting, Bheodari asked rhetorically, “Is it just a lack of respect people have toward their fellow traveler?” The FOX 5 video has police body camera footage showing some of the inappropriate behavior.  

Police go out onto the concourses. However, coverage is minimal due to workforce limitations. Officers who have worked at Atlanta’s airport tell FOX 5 “the only way to bring down the number of across-the-line incidents” is for the airlines to hire police to work off-duty and provide a presence at those gates. 

D & B Staff

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