Alcohol and Unruly Behavior in Airlines
Incidents involving unruly behavior in airlines are on the rise. Alcohol use is involved in 27% of these cases while 24% of cases are related to noncompliance with smoking regulations according to IATA, the International Air Transport Association.
Passengers using alcohol as an excuse to create havoc in airplanes is rising. To find a solution, several agencies which oversee in-flight regulations are working with commercial airlines. They are reviewing the current alcohol sale and consumption practices in airport bars as well as in-flight.
The solution seems obvious. If too many airline passengers consuming alcohol and acting violently, airlines should limit alcohol sales to solve the problem. However, airlines are looking for a regulatory fix, showing their reluctance to lose the alcohol sales profit despite the harm alcohol is causing.
Airline crews are trained to handle passengers who are alcohol intoxicated. There are also strict policies which should prevent inebriated passengers from boarding the flight. However, such policies are rarely systematically implemented.
…an intoxicated passenger could endanger the safety of others during an emergency.” said Randall Flick, a recently retired airline pilot, as per the Washington Post.
Solution to the Problem
Currently, there are laws and regulations in place to reduce possible harm from inebriated passengers.
U.S. federal law prohibits flight crews from allowing “obviously intoxicated passengers” to board aircraft, and it doesn’t allow flight attendants to serve alcohol to anyone who appears intoxicated. Another regulation prohibits passengers from “assaulting or intimidating” crew members and interfering with their duties. Doing so carries a fine of up to $35,000 and a prison sentence of up to 20 years.
An increasing number of passengers ask:
If governments can end smoking in flights, then why not ban alcohol use?”
If banning is not possible then at least the current laws and regulation on intoxicated passengers should be implemented strictly.
Don’t allow people to board a plane if they’re obviously intoxicated and limit the alcoholic beverages any passenger can have in flight,” says Barbara Howell, a frequent air traveler and registered nurse from Carpinteria, Calif, as per the Washington Post.
The airline industry believes stronger regulations is the solution. IATA, which represents the worldwide airline industry, has lobbied for stronger international treaties to deter unruly behavior. They call for a definition of ‘unruly behaviour’ and to strengthen treaties so offenders can not escape repercussions.
Experts have suggested several practical steps to reduce unruly behaviour. Accordingly, a policy should be introduced across airlines which limit the number of alcoholic beverages a passenger can consume. Further the gate screening process needs to be tightened and airport security needs to be included in this aspect.