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Picture: The West Australian/Geoffrey Thomas

Last year there were 383 cases of disruptive behaviour from airline passengers, with some of the worst involving flights to and from WA.

The Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development says the number of incidents is 2 per cent down on 2012 but is more than four times the incidents recorded in the US.

US Federal Aviation Authority records show there were only 85 incidents last year.

Incidents include inappropriate comments, intoxication, altercations between passengers, smoking and other unruly behaviour.

But the numbers do not include altercations at airport terminals.

The International Air Transport Association says there were more than 15,000 air rage incidents between 2007 and 2011 but it estimates that only half of such incidents are reported.

In early January last year, the captain of a Perth-bound Virgin Australia flight had to return to Darwin after an altercation over the cost of a $10 Luke Mangan gourmet chicken sandwich.

The cost of diverting the flight was put at $10,000.

Australian Federal Police arrested the passenger in Darwin and sources say he was admitted to the mental health unit at Royal Darwin Hospital.

One passenger said at the time the man was fine until told the price of the roast chicken, coleslaw, lettuce and tomato mixed-grain bread sandwich about an hour into the flight.

"Then he just lost it," the passenger said.

Later that month, a Perth man was arrested in Singapore after a swearing incident on a Tiger Airways flight from Perth.

Maritime worker Bruce Griffiths, 47, faced a caning under the island state's "outrage of modesty" laws but this was dropped.

In December, a 52-year-old Victorian woman allegedly became unruly on a flight from Perth to Esperance.

She was alleged to have sworn, pushed crew and used her mobile phone.

The woman was charged with failing to comply with instructions aboard an aircraft.

Binge drinking is a major factor in air rage incidents and in 2009 Qantas was forced to ban spirits and full-strength beer on WA flights.