The UK airlines trade body today backed calls from cabin crew for a clampdown on alcohol sales to combat drink-fuelled disruption on flights.

Airline staff want government action to target unruly passengers with more prosecutions, tougher penalties and ways to prevent potential troublemakers from boarding.

Simon Maisey, general secretary of the Cabin Crew Union, which represents staff across all UK airlines, toldthe Express: “We have 5ft female flight attendants facing aggression from groups of men over 6ft tall.

“We have swearing and fighting which is ridiculous and our members 100% expect trouble on certain routes.”

Disruptive passengers face bans, fines and jail sentences but the union wants to see the police called on to flights more regularly and a range of airport restrictions such as having to show a boarding card when ordering a drink to monitor a passenger’s intake.

“It is sad that we need to consider these actions but necessary for the safety of other passengers and staff,” Maisey added.

“Cabin crew are skilled at de-escalating tension but this behaviour is becoming so normalised that they come to expect it, and they shouldn’t have to deal with this as part of their job.

“The results are that they dread going into work some days and it is badly affecting their mental health.”

Airlines UK chief executive Tim Alderslade told Travel Weekly ahead of the summer peak holiday flying season: “This demonstrates the human cost of the recent rise in disruptive passenger incidents.

“Nobody should have to put up with this kind of thing in the workplace – it’s completely unacceptable and yet for some reason in this country people feel they can act in this ridiculous way with impunity. Industry is doing everything it can to deal with the problem but it is time now for ministers to step in with measures of their own.

“They can’t continue to say it’s solely an industry problem – we need help and we would urge them to take a lead, starting with amending the licensing regime as already recommended by the House of Lords licensing committee.”

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