School children caught misbehaving at airports could face a flight ban or even face a recorded conviction, Australian Federal Police warn.
As thousands of youngsters fly out of school to and from their holiday destinations, AFP Airport Police Commander Josh Kinghorn reiterated that travelers acting responsibly inappropriate would be heavily penalized.
People caught displaying offensive or disorderly behavior on a plane could be fined up to $9,000.
Speaking at Gold Coast Airport as the first week of Schoolies draws to a close, Commander Kinghorn said pupils leaving school will go home if they cannot behave properly.
“We don’t want to be party police, but AFP will make arrests if passengers are intoxicated or cause a disturbance,” he said on Thursday.
“We understand that young people leaving school want to celebrate the end of their exams, but passengers and airport staff deserve to feel safe during their flight.
“If offensive or abusive behavior occurs during the flight, AFP will be waiting at the terminal to arrest and escort violators off the aircraft.”
Commander Kinghorn said police would monitor the behavior but also encouraged members of the public to report offending passengers.
Videos posted on social media emerged this week highlighting disgraceful behavior by students leaving school during the first Schoolies weekend, including a mess on a plane and litter lining the Surfers entertainment strip Heaven.
Virgin Australia flight attendant Ashlee Rogers filmed inside a plane after a trip to the Gold Coast, revealing a huge pile of crushed woodchips left under a seat.
The video, which was posted on TikTok, appeared to show the entire contents of the bag being emptied onto the carpet.
“We have witnessed incidents of disorderly or offensive conduct on social media. AFP has not reported any specific incidents to us at Gold Coast Airport, but from what we have seen on social media, this may constitute disorderly conduct,” Commander Kinghorn said.
Commander Kinghorn said police would take a ‘zero tolerance approach’ to any ‘offensive and disorderly conduct’.
“If we encounter this type of behavior and members of the public report this type of behavior to us, we will arrest the people who engage in this type of behavior, they will be escorted off the plane,” he said. .
“We are very concerned about people who are intoxicated traveling and behaving in a disorderly and offensive way, because what we want is for the people and families on board the aircraft to be safe.”
Commander Kinghorn said schoolchildren traveling from NSW, the majority of whom were 18 after graduating, should be aware of their behavior while travelling.
“You are going to be 18, you will be treated like an adult,” he said on Tuesday.
“We don’t want you to start your adult life, get arrested and have to find a job later in life.”
Commander Kinghorn said those caught misbehaving could face ‘pretty hefty fines’ or even ‘suspended sentences for repeat behaviour’.
If someone is found to be interfering with the crew or the aircraft, they face up to two years in prison.
Illegal behaviors include intoxication-related offences, public disorder, smoking in unauthorized areas, carrying contraband, and assault-related incidents.
Passengers can expect to see an increased police presence at all major airports across the country, with drug dogs patrolling the terminals.
If caught with illegal drugs, school dropouts could face drug possession charges and up to two years in prison.
AFP has recorded 50 poisoning-related incidents and 10 assault-related incidents at Gold Coast airport since 2021.
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