Drinking on planes and at airports

By | Category: Travel rumblings

Jet 2 has been tough on drunken behaviour…

Last night’s BBC Panorama programme looked at the problem of drunkenness on planes and at airports.

It was probably spurred by the strong statements that have come from airlines like Jet 2, easyJet and Ryanair about incidents concerning drunken – and in some cases – drunkenly aggressive passengers like those who have tried to open doors.

…as has been easyJet…

It comes on the back of figures suggesting that incidents of drunkenness have risen by 50% in the last year. On the face of it this sounds appalling until you realise that this relates to 387 people up from 255 the year before. Given that in 2015 there were 65.7 million of us who travelled abroad it is easy to see that the percentage of drunken incidents is miniscule. Or is it? Comments made by interviewees on Panorama suggest that drunkenness is almost a daily occurrence so the obvious question is whether we fully understand the extent of this problem?

I am not condoning drunken behaviour but it needs to be considered in perspective.

Ryanair plane ascending

…and Ryanair

Are there particular routes and/or airlines that are affected? One of the interviewees in the programme was also on BBC’s Breakfast programme yesterday morning. Former cabin crew member on Virgin Atlantic, Abby Murphy, said that Montego Bay in Jamaica and Las Vegas flights were particularly bad. As Virgin has no short-haul flights she wouldn’t know about flights to Ibiza, Mallorca or Cyprus where, anecdotally, there seem to be more incidents than on some other flights.

Jet 2 has banned the sale of drink on its planes before 8am and Ryanair has banned all alcohol on Ibiza flights. Many airlines have toughened up on their attitudes to drunken behaviour but they are wary in going too far because of the large revenues they earn from alcohol sales. How many incidents are still not being reported?

Surely the first thing is to establish which flights, which time of day, which airlines and which airports are involved and then apply appropriate measures so that all passengers and crew can feel unthreatened on their flights?