Airline passengers face prospect of restriction on alcohol consumption

Airline passengers face prospect of restriction on alcohol consumption

Airline passengers could face restrictions on drinking alcohol before boarding flights under a proposal to extend the Licensing Act to bars selling beer, wine and spirits airside.

The move is needed because of a rise in air-rage incidents provoked by people drinking excessively before boarding aircraft, according to a parliamentary report.

The proposals, which also call for a ban on two-for-one alcohol deals and multi-buy sales in England and Wales, appear in a review of the Licensing Act 2003, which introduced extended drinking hours.

The review said the introduction of a Scottish-style ban on cheap drink deals was needed to control alcohol sold in shops.

Baroness McIntosh of Pickering, chairwoman of the Lords select committee on the Licensing Act, said that a ban similar to one operating in Scotland would help to promote “responsible drinking”.

She said that extending the act to airside drinking in airports would help to tackle a rise in incidents of air rage linked to alcohol.

More than half of 536 incidents reported last summer by one airline, Jet2.com, were said to have been fuelled by alcohol, with many linked to heavy drinking at an airport before boarding, according to written evidence the company has supplied.

Sussex police conducted an exercise at Gatwick and found that all but one of the premises selling alcohol sold it to under-18s, the report said.

They were unable to prosecute because the Licensing Act does not apply airside. “This can lead to dangerous situations and must be changed,” Lady McIntosh told The Times.

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