Saturday, 24 February 2007

Should alcohol be served on flights?

There have been many incidents of air rage in the skies when people have drunk too much. Cabin crew should be able to see when someone has had enough and refuse to give them more alcohol. Why risk somebody going mad and trying to open the cabin doors!

Air rage is always making news and will always be the subject of any ‘in-flight’ incidents.

Rebecca Broussard (mother to Jack Nicholson’s children) was onboard a flight bound for Heathrow, she was the cause of the captain making an unplanned emergency stop in Canada when she was not permitted more Champagne hence flaring up in anger. A band member of REM also exploded into a drunken outrage on a separate flight but was later cleared of this charge.

The Civil Aviation Authority have put forward that half the air rage incidents are caused by alcohol and in the cases above it certainly looks that way.
Reported occasions of trouble on British aircraft alone have since March 2003 doubled.

There were 1,359 instances of disruptive behaviour on flights, of which 56 were classed as ‘serious’ and this was in a twelve-month period between March 2005 and March 2006. ‘Serious’ is classed as attitudes that are deemed to threaten safety or could do so if the situation furthers.

Many situations are involving verbal abuse of crew and other passengers, even petty things such as seating arrangements and seat reclining, ignoring crew instructions accounts for another quarter of incidents.

There have been 142 occasions where violence has been reported resulting in planes being diverted and individuals restrained. More than a third of these were alcohol induced.

An incident on a My Travel flight to Glasgow saw a passenger drink a bottle of Whiskey and become threatening to staff. The pilot diverted to an airport in Spain where all passengers stayed in a hotel for the night and flew back the next day. The drunken passenger will have to pay £40,000 but had it been considered more serious, the traveller could have faced a two-year prison sentence.

Cathay Pacific banned Liam Gallagher for life after he had a drunken in-flight argument and Model Marzena Kamizela apparently bit a British airways stewardess.

Gillian Merron Aviation Minister said:
"Airlines have worked hard to ensure that disruptive incidents are kept to a minimum and more passengers are aware of the consequences of unruly behaviour,"

So the debate continues, should alcohol be allowed onboard aircraft?

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