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Airport bar controls may dampen crazed air-ragers

January 9, 2018 Headline News No Comments Email Email

A clampdown on liquor sales at airport bars is under consideration in a bid to reduce the number of air-rage incidents, which have seen drunks, often violent, run amok on planes.

The country that’s considering this measure is Britain, a nation whose citizens feature disproportionately in air-rage incidents. Airports in the UK are currently exempt from legislation governing when they can sell alcohol.

Some thought the low point in outrageous behaviour among British travellers had been reached in 2013, a particularly bad year. In October of that year, a bald-headed, middle-aged, tattooed drunk arrived at Manchester Airport on an easyJet flight from Malta, stripped naked, urinated in public and then challenged the captain to a fight before being tasered by police. See: Air travel low: naked drunken urinator tries to fight pilot

Since then, things have deteriorated, with drunken brawls breaking out on holiday flights, some among men and others among women.

“All the evidence does show that this is a problem that is only getting worse,” Airlines UK chief executive Tim Alderslade told the BBC.

“The number of incidents of poor behaviour on board flights is increasing year on year and we need to work together to get a handle on it as soon as possible.”

Ryanair has demanded that British airports ban the sale of alcohol before 10am and to limit the number of drinks per boarding pass to a maximum of two.

Many of the incidents are tied in with cheap holiday flights. Passengers “pre-load” booze at airports and board flights already drunk.

Arrests of drunken air passengers have risen by 50%, although Britain’s Home Office insists that only “a small minority of people” are disrupting flights.

Pubs and bars at British airports can currently sell alcohol any time of day. That may change, with new legislation in the pipeline to give councils the power to restrict the timing of alcohol sales.

The new regulations, now under consideration by the House of Lords, would impose the same rules on airport bars that apply to pubs in British cities.

Rules are already tough. Riotous airborne drunks can be jailed for up to two years or given an unlimited fine.

Written by Peter Needham

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