Airlines and flight search sites have called for measures to be put in place to stop “excessive alcohol consumption” after a documentary exposed a 50% rise in booze-related misbehaviour in the air.
Ryanair wants airports to ban the sale of alcohol before 10am and make it mandatory for passengers to scan their boarding cards when buying booze to limit them to two pre-flight drinks each.
The low cost carrier also believes binge drinking is a “particular problem” when flights are delayed, and called for airport bars and restaurants limited alcohol sales at these times.
Chief marketing officer Kenny Jacobs said: “It’s completely unfair that airports can profit from the unlimited sale of alcohol to passengers and leave the airlines to deal with the safety consequences.
“This is a particular problem during flight delays when airports apply no limit to the sale of alcohol in airside bars and restaurants. This is an issue which the airports must now address and we are calling for significant changes to prohibit the sale of alcohol at airports, particularly with early morning flights and when flights are delayed.”
Flight search site Cheapflights followed up the BBC’s Panorama programme’s research that found there had been a 50% rise in the number of alcohol-related incidents of misbehaviour with its own research.
It found that 28 per cent admitted they have had “one too many” before getting on the plane with the average holidaymaker drinking three drinks at the airport bar – and a further two alcoholic drinks on board.
Twelve per cent of Brits say they or someone they know has been told that they can’t get on a flight because they’ve had too much alcohol according to Cheapflights, which also found that 62% of its surveyed passengers head straight to the bar as soon as they reach the airport departure lounge.
Almost a third of respondents admitted to boarding a plane drunk and said airport boozing starts as early as 8am.
Phil Bloomfield, global head of PR & communications at Cheapflights, said: “At any other time, downing three drinks at 8am would be unthinkable, but some holidaymakers adopt an attitude of ‘it must be after lunchtime somewhere in the world’.
“As we move into peak summer holiday season and excitement builds for many ahead of a well-earned break away, it’s alarming to see the number of people who let it all go as soon as they’re through Security at the airport.”
“Holidays should be a time to de-stress – but not to the extent that it’s likely to spoil the fun for others, or to risk your own safety or chances of getting away and relaxing. With increased policing at airports and the stats revealed today it’s increasingly important that travellers drink in moderation to avoid spoiling hard earned holidays.”
Panorama – which was due to be shown on Monday night – found that 18 police forces with a large airport in their area collectively made 387 arrests for alcohol-related offences, up from 255 the year previous.
The CAA reported a 600% increase in disruptive passenger incidents in the UK between 2012 and 2016 with most said to have involved alcohol.
A joint statement from Airlines UK, the Airport Operators Association and the UK Travel Retail Forum, said: “As an industry, we take the issue of disruptive passengers very seriously.
“Thankfully the problem of disruptive behaviour is rare, but where it does happen it can affect fellow passengers, airline crew and employees working at the airport.
“The industry is working hard to tackle the issue and last year launched a code of practice to create a common, consistent approach that co-ordinates and enhances existing efforts to prevent disruptive passenger behaviour.
“Government supports the code and together we believe this is the best way to tackle this issue.
“Disruptive behaviour, including due to excessive alcohol consumption, is not acceptable. Passengers should be aware that consequences of such behaviour could include losing a holiday because they are denied boarding through to fines, flight bans and prison sentences for the most serious offences.”
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