Drunken air passengers

By | Category: Travel news
How do we curtail druken behaviour?

How do we curtail drunken behaviour?

The new aviation minister, Lord Ahmed, has announced that he is looking into the problem of alcohol availability on planes and in airports.

This has been prompted by the incidences of drunken passengers and their antics either at airports or on flights.

Although we know that 442 people have been arrested for drunkenness in the two year period to March 2016, there are no figures at all on how many people were drunk and the government has released no figures on the number of cautions that were meted out during that time.

The issue has been growing for some time and Jet 2, for example, has been at the forefront of tough airline policies on drunkenness doling out lifetime flying bans. Ryanair has banned passengers to Ibiza from taking any alcohol into the aircraft cabin because so many people drinking their duty free allowances.

What has happened to clamp down on drunken behaviour since I wrote that story almost thirteen months ago? Individual airlines have pushed for measures and bills have been sent to passengers who caused flights to be diverted. What we don’t know was whether those bills have been paid because many people couldn’t afford a bill of tens of thousands of pounds.

One suggestion is that airports may put seals on bags but in my experience of US transatlantic flights where airports have sealed the bags these seals can easily be broken in flight. They aren’t really seals – just some staples across the plastic top of the bag. Another idea is that passengers don’t pick up their duty free alcohol until the flight lands.

Airlines have the powers to refuse to serve people they suspect of being drunk and I have seen that enforced. That leaves airport bars, restaurants and pubs. Can we limit people to one round of drinks? Should we ban alcohol from airports which would hit airport profits and the drinks manufacturers hard? Lord Ahmed has a tough task unless he opts for an educational approach along the lines of “Don’t drink and fly.”

But does the problem warrant this gnashing of teeth? In two years, those 442 cases were split over the tens of millions of us flying through UK airports. Compared to the drunken antics in our towns, cities and holiday spots abroad the numbers are infinitesimal yet when a single case happens it causes misery for other passengers and expense for the airlines.

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