Are Vietnamese air passengers becoming more unruly?
A number of incidents involving Vietnamese travelers have been on the headlines in recent weeks — from a woman filming a TikTok dance near a moving aircraft at Phu Quoc Airport to an elderly woman peeling fruits with a knife. Not to mention passengers putting their feet up right onto the headrest in front or those who stand on the luggage conveyor belts for unknown reasons.
The Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV) said in July that it compiled a list of the “troublemakers” who violated aviation rules and airport security. While some of the violations committed by Vietnamese travelers do not necessarily endanger the safety of other passengers, even minor mishaps can cause disruptions in airport operations or delay flights.
On Wednesday, CAAV issued a six-month flight ban to a woman illegally dancing on the runway on May 18. The flight ban, which starts on August 17, applies to domestic and international flights for all airlines. The violator also faced administrative fines for failing to comply with security personnel’s instructions.
“The Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam requires Vietnamese airlines and foreign airlines operating in Vietnam not to carry the [unnamed] passenger on domestic and international flights departing from Vietnam within the time limit; banned from transportation, from August 17, 2022, to the end of February 16, 2023,” CAAV said.
CAAV has already ordered airports to step up monitoring of passengers who might “undermine security and safety.”
"The crew needs to actively detect passengers that don't abide by the rules and report them to aviation authorities so that they can be dealt with as needed," the directive says.
Another passenger was also reported for putting her smartphone against the window to film the clouds. Using electronic devices on the plane — especially if they’re directly exposed to sunlight from the window — may pose great danger.
Last year, despite limited flight frequencies during the COVID-19 lockdown, civil aviation agencies handed over 195 law violation cases, including 51 criminal cases, to the police. The Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam and the Vietnam Air Traffic Management Corporation received 223 notifications from the Defense Ministry regarding defense and aviation security and safety.
CAAV issued flight bans against two passengers in May last year for abusive behavior towards an airline staff and for trying to open the aircraft door forcibly. Another passenger was given a one-year ban after he was caught smoking in the lavatory mid-flight.
Deputy Prime Minister Pham Binh Minh, who also heads the National Civil Aviation Security, said in February that as the aviation industry bounces back from a two-year hiatus and travel demand increases, the task of ensuring security and safety will be more challenging. He requested more human resource training as well as setting up police stations at airports to handle unfortunate incidents.
As domestic tourism regains momentum, air travel becomes more hectic. In the first six months of the year, at least 72 million local holidaymakers were seen to crowd popular tourist destinations. Local travelers have also swarmed the airports in Ho Chi Minh City, Phu Quoc, and Hanoi.
The upcoming Independence Day holiday, which will give the Vietnamese four days off work and school, is expected to cause congestion and delays at major airports. Authorities encourage passengers to behave appropriately and not bring any prohibited items to ensure smooth and safe travel.