Exploring the perceived competence of airport ground staff in dealing with unruly passenger behaviors

Yang Cheng-Hua*, Hsin-Li Chang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Unruly Passenger Behaviors (UPBs) are a challenge for service provision enterprises, notably the airline industry. To explore ground staff competence and difficulties in dealing with UPBs, a questionnaire was established in consultation with managers of three multinational airlines, and was duly completed by airline ground staff (n=494). Response analysis using Rasch models identified the most challenging UPBs and assessed staff competence in handling UPBs. Some UPBs were commonly challenging for the staff of all airlines, whereas some were challenging only for the staff of specific airlines. Inter-airline differences emerged in regard to difficulty and staff competence in managing specific UPBs; this could reflect differences in company policy, training programs, staff support, and authorizations provided. These results suggest procedures by which airlines could improve UPB handling, including the establishment of appropriate service-staff authorizations, passenger education, complaint mechanisms, unruly passenger databases, information feedback loops, and staff training courses on procedures for dealing with different UPBs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)611-621
Number of pages11
JournalTourism Management
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2012


  • Airport passenger service
  • Ground staff
  • Latent trait
  • Rasch models
  • Unruly passenger behaviors

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