19th Oct 2017
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Could alcohol be banned at airports?
Author: SJ Fallick
whiskey and an airplane

SJ is a regular travel contributor to YourLifeChoices. Her favourite travel ritual is an afternoon Aperol Spritz, preferably enjoyed pool or beach side.

We all like to think we're good at 'handling' our alcohol, but many people who drink can become worse versions of themselves, susceptible to becoming more aggressive or emotional, or just plain silly. That said, alcohol is generally not a good mix with most things.

One such thing is flying. Taxing enough on your body as it is, there's nothing worse than sharing a small, confined space with a drunken idiot, particularly when that space is 30,000 feet above the ground.

While there's not much else to do at airports, or on planes for that matter, drinking to pass the time may not be an option for much longer. Ryanair, one of the UK's biggest budget airlines, is calling for revised regulations around airport drinking.

The budget airline is proposing airports ban the sale of alcohol in restaurants and bars before 10am and enforce a two-drink policy.

Australians allegedly spend a quarter of a billion dollars each year on pre-flight drinks; the BBC has reported a 50 per cent spike in arrests associated with drunken passengers from February 2016 to 2017; and with all research pointing to increased amounts of passenger drinking at airports and on planes, it might only be a matter of time before this proposal is implemented.

In further support of the suggestion, a major cabin crew survey conducted by Unite union revealed that more than half of the 4000 respondents had witnessed disruptive drunken behaviour at airports. Even more alarming, a fifth of those surveyed said they'd been physically abused by an intoxicated passenger.

Ryanair spokesperson, Kenny Jacobs, said intoxicated travellers are "an issue which the airports must now address". The airline already does not allow passengers to consume duty-free alcohol and on some routes to Alicante and Ibiza no alcohol may be brought on board at all.

Karen Dee, Chief Executive of the Airport Operators Association, countered that alcohol at airports wasn’t the issue, arguing that "the misuse of it and drinking to excess and then behaving badly" was the real problem. However, the Home Office stated it was considering a ban and would respond in due course.

If bans do become established, it's highly likely that airports in Australia and around the world will follow suit. It’s an all too common scenario of a few ruining it for everyone.

What do you think about Ryanair's proposed revisions of alcohol consumption at airports? Should people be allowed to drink before or during a flight? Or is this one situation that calls for everyone to be sober?

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    COMMENTS

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    John1945
    21st Oct 2017
    11:38am
    "It’s an all too common scenario of a few ruining it for everyone."
    Especially if the captain decides to turn the aircraft around and return to the airport, wasting everyone's time and causing you to miss a connecting flight.
    Flying is an ordeal for most people and it can be made much worse by drunken passengers.
    Unfortunately it seems there is no safeguard against passengers with mental problems who suddenly "lose it" when they get to 10,000 Metres.
    So removing alcohol from the equation seems like a good idea to me.
    Charlie
    21st Oct 2017
    12:27pm
    Too many people, I include my self when I was young, have a drink and it turns into a binge. Doing that down the street is alright if you don't want to waste that special high, but preceding a flight when a person has to be on their best behavior its a bad practice. After all its a confined space with other people and emergency situations can and do occur.
    Eddy
    22nd Oct 2017
    11:28am
    Seems too simple to have Boarding Gate Breath Tests (BGBT) for passengers prior to boarding. Anyone over a specified blood alcohol limit (say 0.08) to be denied boarding, even if it means forfeiting their ticket. Anyone getting overly argumentative or abusive can be subdued and taken away by security personnel; much, I think, to the relief of on board crew and other passengers. With all the security procedures in place at airports to keep us safe, a BGBT seems a minor inconvenience for unaffected passengers. I see BGBT as a realistic alternative to banning alcohol sales at airports, similar to how Roadside Breath Tests have changed our behaviour with respect to drinking and driving.
    Aussie
    22nd Oct 2017
    6:05pm
    Great idea ... but will delay the boarding ???? so needs to allocate more time for boarding I guess .... but good idea
    Anonymous
    22nd Oct 2017
    7:32pm
    fascist pigs

    I'm not piloting the plane.

    22nd Oct 2017
    7:31pm
    Well then there's not much fun flying anymore.

    I love having a few drinks at the lounge before boarding and then a few more before and during the meal while taking in a good movie.

    Help me sleep really well on board and I wake up feeling great with no jet lag


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