Speakers will include industry leaders, aircrew, airport operators, academics and law enforcement agencies, with papers covering:

International Legislation

Montreal Protocol Update

Post-Incident Litigation

Recognising Potentially Unruly Behaviour

Communication Skills

De-escalation Techniques

Cross-cultural Challenges

The Impact of Alcohol at Altitude

Responsible Service of Alcohol

Unruly Passenger Restraint Issues

Football Hooliganism & Mob Behaviour

Frotteurs & Sexually Deviant Behaviour

Inflight Theft

Bomb Threat Management

Flight Attendant Uniforms

Bodycams & Inflight CCTV

Social Media Reporting

Human Trafficking

Impact of Emotional Support Animals

Medication & Inflight Behaviour

Airport Responsibility

Advertising & Entitlement

Aircrew Mental Health

Airline Case Studies





Subject to Modification



08.00-08.45  Delegate Registration

09.00-09.15  Welcome to DISPAX World 2019



09.15-10.00    Reality Check: experiences on the front line

Three different perspectives of actual unruly passenger incidents will set the scene for DISPAX World 2019. Those involved inflight will present their perspectives and then engage in a Q&A with the audience.

– Case Study 1: Wizzair

– Case Study 2: Air India



10.00-10.30  En Route from Tokyo to Montreal: a disruptive journey

Tokyo Convention? Montreal Protocol? Just how effective have they been in addressing the threat to civil aviation posed by unruly passengers? Where are we at in terms of ratification of legal instruments? And, even if ratified, what does it mean for crews facing the challenge of unruly behaviour inflight?

Tim Colehan, International Air Transport Association, Switzerland


10.30-11.00  Coffee Break



11.00-11.45  The Case for the Prosecution and The Case for the Defence: the case for understanding legal protocols

Lawyers who have defended a person accused of being unruly on board aircraft and who have successfully prosecuted an unruly passenger highlight the ways in which they successfully defended and prosecuted their respective cases. What can crew members do to ensure that their allegations are watertight and that their case is robust enough to ensure a conviction? We take delegates from the heights of the aircraft cabin to the cauldron of the courtroom.

11.45-12.10  The Case for the Compensation: passenger claims in response to delays caused by unruly passengers

This presentation offers a brief overview of the legal framework regarding passenger compensation (Montreal Convention, EU Regulation 261/2004) as well as a discussion of case law. The paper will consider airlines’ responsibility for their operational effectiveness and whether an airline should be liable to compensate passengers for a delay, regardless of whether or not the airline directly caused the disruption, resulting in a delayed flight.

Dr Sofia Mateou, Vice President and COO, ALS Aviation, Cyprus



12.10-13.00  Training to Prevent, Training to Manage, Training to Contain

Two airlines present their approaches and concepts to ensure the successful management of unruly passenger incidents.

SAS: Leif Svensson, Head of Security & Emergency Response, Scandinavian Airlines System, Sweden

Virgin Atlantic: Joe Carpenter, Corporate Security Specialist, Virgin Atlantic Airways Ltd., UK


13.00-14.00  Lunch



 14.00-14.10  Moderator’s Scene Setter

Katharine Ng, OneCrew, Hong Kong

14.10-14.40  Alcohol at Altitude: don’t forget the cabin is pressurised

Alcohol, and indeed medication, are clearly associated with many an unruly passenger incident. Yet, does alcohol really have greater impact on the body when one is cruising at altitude than it does on the ground? After all, the aircraft may be flying at 33,000 feet, but those on board are safely in a pressurised cabin. We separate fact from fiction.

 14.40-15.05  The Mobile Phone Era: evidential tool and social media threat

Over the last two decades the carriage of mobile phones by passengers has become commonplace. Indeed, the absence of a mobile phone is now regarded as unusual. Originally, they were used as communication devices alone, but nowadays they fast-track information which is occurring on board aircraft to friends and family on the ground and, through social media channels, to the mass media. This provides evidence of unruly passenger behaviour, but it also results in crew actions being broadcasted around the globe. How do we best manage the use of mobile phones by onlookers in unruly passenger incidents?

Rod Cowan, UK

15.05-15.30  Emotional Support Animals: setting guidelines, addressing needs 

Pigs, pythons, peacocks and even appaloosa ponies – they have all been put forward as emotional support animals to help their human owners cope with the stresses of air travel. Those airlines that do permit emotional support animals on board are clearly establishing sensible guidelines as to which animals are deemed suitable for carriage in the aircraft cabin and are lobbying for stricter controls of the certification process. We examine the challenges facing carriers and the emotional needs of passengers.


15.30-16.00  Tea Break



 16.00-16.25  Sexually Deviant Behaviour Inflight: reaching epidemic proportions

In 2018 the US Department of Transportation established the National In-Flight Sexual Misconduct Task Force in response to the alarming increase in incidents of sexual assaults against passengers and crew members. The Task Force is reviewing and evaluating current practices, protocols, and requirements of U.S. airlines in responding to and reporting allegations by passengers of sexual misconduct on board commercial aircraft. It will also provide recommendations on best practices relating to training, reporting, and data collection regarding incidents of sexual misconduct by passengers onboard commercial aircraft. The scale of the problem and scope of the Task Force are set out for delegates.

16.25-16.55  Contextual and Behavioural Risk Factors for Inflight Sexual Harassment and Assault

Incidents of sexual harassment and assault against flight attendants and passengers include non-consensual sexual touching, ‘upskirt’ photography and unwanted sexual contact. This paper will describe the range of harassing and assaultive behaviours against which airlines should guard, describe some characteristics of likely perpetrators, and provide a list of contextual risk factors so that carriers can help to crack down on sexual harassment and assault.

Dr Zoe Peterson, Director of the Sexual Assault Research Initiative, Kinsey Institute, USA

16.55-17.10 Q&A

 17.10-17.15   Wrap Up





09.00-09.05  Moderator’s Opening Remarks

Katharine Ng, OneCrew, Hong Kong



09.05-09.25  The Airport Experience: the impact on passenger behaviour

Problems in the air often occur as the result of the passenger’s experience on the ground. Whilst many triggers are beyond the industry’s control, the processing of passengers through the various checks at airports is certainly one we can influence. We look at how airports are taking on the challenge of ensuring that passengers board their flights in moods conducive to good behaviour inflight.

Chief Inspector Kirsty Andrew, Specialist Operations – Aviation Policing, Heathrow Airport, UK

 09.25-09.45  Behavioural Analysis: identifying people who may become unruly

Behavioural analysis has long been mooted as a method of identifying passengers who may pose a threat to a flight; most are proposing the introduction of passenger differentiation techniques in order to address the terrorist threat. Nevertheless, the analysis of passengers’ behaviour, their gait, their demeanour, their interaction with others, their response to questions and their degree of engagement with the security personnel could also serve to identify passengers displaying any suspicious behaviour (e.g. related to smuggling, alcoholism, mental health etc.) and could thus help us to identify and handle passengers who may become unruly.

 09.45-10.05  Mindfulness-in-Action: its place in aviation security

In managing difficult situations, we need to identify problems before they escalate, see and seize opportunities to make better decisions and try to know ourselves better in order to understand others and, thereby, communicate more effectively. Before launching into an attempt to verbally diffuse a situation, breathe!

Rodney King, South Africa & Aaron Le Boutillier, Thailand

 10.05-10.25  Communication: diffusing explosive individuals

How can we train crews effectively to communicate given the broad range of scenarios they might face? What communication techniques can, given the time available, be effectively taught and remembered?

10.25-10.45  Q&A


10.45-11.15  Coffee Break



 11.15-11.20  Moderator’s Scene Setter      

Philip Baum, Conference Chairman, DISPAX World 2019

 11.20-11.45  Pressure Point Control and Handcuff Application: medical concerns

We only restrain unruly passengers as an act of last resort. All crew should appreciate that, if the passenger truly did pose a threat to the safety of the flight, they may continue to lash out during the restraint process. Some techniques taught include the use of pressure points to maintain control. Are there any risks to the passenger in our doing so? Some techniques involve the passenger’s hands being restrained to the rear (of their body). What are the health hazards in our doing so? And what are the dangers of plastic ties, metal handcuffs and Velcro restraints?

 11.45-12.30  Restraint Kits: it’s all on film

DISPAX World 2019 is not trying to sell any one restraint solution or any particular restraint kit. We do, however, think that delegates would benefit of seeing the range of solutions on the market. We have approached five suppliers and offered them the opportunity to show videos of their kits is use on board aircraft. The suppliers will then be able to answer any queries delegates might have.

12.30-13.00  After Care: medical issues associated with passenger restraint

You may have successfully restrained an unruly passenger, but your responsibility for their well-being remains. After an initial review of medical conditions which might result in a passenger behaving in an unruly fashion in the first place, we then examine how to address the unruly passenger’s physical needs once they have been restrained. How do you cope with: choking, gagging, positional asphyxia and limb dislocation?

Tim Cohen, Integrity Health & Safety, Australia


13.00-14.00  Lunch



14.00-14.30  Hijacking: A Case Study

This personal account from a crew member who was actively involved in an attempted aircraft hijacking will give delegates a sense of the horror of being caught up in such a nightmare scenario.

Greg Khan, Virgin Australia, Australia

14.30-14.35 Moderators Comments

Philip Baum, Conference Chairman, DISPAX World 2019

14.35-15.00  What Your Captain Needs to Know: the view from the flight deck

Even if the core problem of unruly passengers and other inflight security challenges rest with the cabin crew, the legal authority on board an aircraft remains with the commander. Now ensconced behind a cockpit door that should remain locked throughout the flight, what do pilots need to know and what decisions do they feel can be safely delegated to the cabin crew. Furthermore, what are the challenges the flight deck crew face in communicating with the authorities on the ground about security incidents inflight?

15.00-15.20  Inflight Theft: perpetrator tactics

There are an ever-increasing number of reports of inflight theft on board commercial aircraft. What do we we know of the perpetrators? Which routes do they fly? How do they select their targets? How do they effect their acts? And, most importantly, how might they be identified?

15.20-15.40  Inflight Bomb Threats: to divert or not to divert, that is the question

Never does a week go by without a passenger, somewhere around the globe, announcing that, ‘There is a bomb on this plane’. More often than not, the threat is nothing more than a pathetic attempt at humour as a result of frustration. But how do we know? And when the threat is written in the inflight magazine or on the mirror in the restrooms, should threats be taken any more seriously? How do crews make their own assessment of the possibility of there being an actual improvised explosive device on board?


15.40-16.00  Tea Break



16.00-17.00  Human Trafficking Awareness for Flight Attendants: A Masterclass

Human trafficking is the world’s second most lucrative criminal activity and, granted the growth in air travel and reduction in flight ticket costs, many victims are being transported to their new ‘jobs’ by air, sometimes alone and sometimes in the company of a trafficker. Aircrew are now being regarded as the last opportunity many victims might have of preventing their being sold into slavery or sexual servitude. In the United States, Airline Ambassadors strives to run human trafficking awareness courses for flight attendants in order to help battle the trade in human beings. DISPAX World delegates are offered the opportunity to sit through the complete Airline Ambassadors package in the hope that delegates will become the ambassadors for change in their own organisations.

Nancy Rivard, Airline Ambassadors International, USA

17.00-17.15  Chairman’s Take Away

Philip Baum will ask panellists what they will take-away from DISPAX 2019. Without papers, presentations or PowerPoint, Philip will be asking for meaningful one-liners as to how the industry should act to counter the scourge of disruptive passengers and where the industry will be in five years’ time.

Philip Baum, Conference Chairman, DISPAX World 2019


 17.30           DISPAX World 2019 Closes