Duct Tape
Photograph ©2021 by Brian Cohen.

Restraining a Fellow Passenger With Duct Tape? That is Nothing New.

It has happened before. Like 18 years ago, for example.

A recent video “went viral” pertaining to an unruly male passenger who exhibited poor behavior by allegedly groping female members of the flight crew during a flight aboard an airplane which was operated by Frontier Airlines and was ultimately restrained to his seat with duct tape — and the media in general seems to be treating the incident as though it never happened before…

Restraining a Fellow Passenger With Duct Tape? That is Nothing New.

…but exceptionally misbehaving passengers have indeed been restrained to their seats with duct tape aboard airplanes during flights in the past.

Back in January of 2013, a passenger who was allegedly drunk and disruptive by supposedly “attacking one woman, screaming that the airplane was going to crash, and spitting at other passengers while yelling profanities” was reportedly restrained to his seat with both duct tape and flexible plastic cable ties by fellow passengers and crew members during a flight from Reykjavik to New York aboard an airplane operated by Icelandair.

Photograph ©2018 by Brian Cohen.

The unidentified passenger was escorted off of the aircraft by police and taken to a local hospital in New York to supposedly be treated for alcohol poisoning after the six-hour flight safely concluded at John F. Kennedy International Airport, according to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. However — because fellow passengers were reluctant to discuss the events which had unfolded during the flight — the 48-year-old man was reportedly not charged or arrested.

A photograph of the man posted in this FlyerTalk discussion caused at least one FlyerTalk member to question as to whether or not this story was real. After all, the idea of restraining a passenger who was supposedly a threat to fellow passengers to his seat with duct tape does seem ludicrous at first — but the official statement by Icelandair claims that he “was monitored for his own safety for the duration of the flight”, which was reportedly two-thirds completed when this incident happened. Icelandair supposedly equips all of its aircraft with duct tape and cable ties.

Here is a video report on that story from ABC News:

Raw video footage of the allegedly drunk passenger who was so unruly that he was forced to be restrained to his seat with duct tape reportedly by an off-duty captain, two male passengers, and members of the flight crew aboard an airplane operated by Icelandair during a flight to New York was released at the YouTube Internet web site of the Associated Press:

Although a fellow passenger in the video incorrectly predicted that the 48-year-old man would be incarcerated “for a long time”, he was reportedly not charged or arrested because fellow passengers were reluctant to discuss the events which had unfolded during the flight.

Other incidents occurred when a drunk woman — who was 45 years old at the time — was restrained with duct tape by flight crew members aboard flight 645 from San Juan, Puerto Rico to Chicago, causing the pilot to divert the aircraft to Charlotte; and a drunk man reportedly attacked a flight attendant before fellow passengers restrained him with duct tape. Both incidents occurred aboard United Airlines aircraft during flight in 2008.

Passengers and an air marshal reportedly subdued and restrained a man with duct tape aboard a United Airlines flight from Honolulu to Los Angeles back in 2003 for pacing the aisle and reading loudly from the Bible.

Then again, duct tape has apparently been a secret weapon for flight crews for years.

Final Boarding Call

Duct Tape
Photograph ©2021 by Brian Cohen.

Duct tape can be applied in so many different ways. Use it to repair broken or torn items. Remove lint from your clothing. Adhere things to other objects. Close things which will not shut otherwise…

…and — apparently — restrain that unruly fellow passenger to his seat during a flight.

FlyerTalk member Himeno suggests considering banning alcohol from aircraft altogether. While that would not affect me in the least, I do not believe we need to go that far, as these incidents are few and far between. I do believe, however, that there should be consideration of increasing the severity of the punishment when a passenger becomes a threat to the safety of other passengers — whether or not alcohol fuels that threat.

I just hope that this does not start some sort of wave of vigilantism against people perceived to be unruly passengers. Unless your safety is clearly being threatened or you have permission from the flight crew, restraining a passenger against his or her will could get you into legal trouble.

Yes, I know that it is tempting to use duct tape to cover the mouth of the person who talks loudly on his mobile telephone — but you will need to restrain yourself from restraining that inconsiderate person.

Although I do not do it myself, it is probably not a bad idea to carry some duct tape with you when you travel in case you need to repair a torn piece of luggage, for example.

Duct tape can also be used for commercial aviation purposes — such as to:

…and even to hold a bumper to a rental car.

Whatever would we do without duct tape?!?

All photographs ©2018 and ©2021 by Brian Cohen.

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