Should You Drink While Flying?

For many people having a drink at the airport or whilst on the plane is the official start of their holiday, sunnier shores and part of their travel experience. For others a drink might help with the stresses of the airport or soothe flying nerves, but should we really be drinking at the airport and what are the rules for drinking on planes.

Both airports and airlines are not subject to the same licensing laws as the rest of the country which prohibits the sale of alcohol before 09:00 but a code of practice was introduced by the UK Aviation Industry a couple of years ago, recommending that airports and airlines should work together to limit disruptive behaviour and sell alcohol responsibly. Most of airports and big airlines have already committed to this.

However, the number of passengers arrested for drunken and disruptive behaviour both on flights and at UK airports is still rising significantly and a recent BBC Panorama investigation suggests that drunk air passenger arrests are up 50%.

I Love meet and greet looks at the guidelines for drinking alcohol both at the airport and flying:

Is there a drink limit on board a plane?

There is no specific limit on how much you can drink on the flight, but cabin crew have the right to refuse to serve alcohol to anyone they suspect is drunk and has had one too many. Policies on serving alcohol on board can differ per airline and destination and some airlines are restricting passengers to two drinks in flight.

Can you drink your own alcoholic drinks on the plane?

No, drinking your own alcohol on the plane is banned. You are only allowed to drink alcohol provided by the airline you are flying with. However, passengers can carry alcohol onto a flight, but it must be transported in its original, unopened container.

Will airlines refuse drunk passengers?

If you are drunk boarding the plane, airlines have the right to refuse to let you board if they think you are a risk to the safety of the aircraft, its crew and its passengers. If the plane is already in the air and passengers becomes drunk, the aircraft can get diverted and passengers causing threatening or insulting behaviour will be escorted off by police.

Does alcohol affect you differently when you are flying?

According to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), the cabin’s air pressure effectively thins the blood diminishes the body’s ability to absorb oxygen leaving a person more susceptible to the effects of alcohol. And because of the decreased pressure environment in the cabin and the lower levels of oxygen passengers will notice the effects of the alcohol quicker. You will seem more drunk in the air than you would on the ground after consuming the same amount of alcohol.

How to avoid getting drunk on plane?

Drink wisely…your body acts differently than usual on a flight. Drink less than a half of what you would usually drink and rehydrate with water or a soft drink.

Should alcohol be banned at airports and on aircraft?

Airlines are beginning to take their own measures to clamp down on alcohol by stopping passengers buying booze before 08:00 on their aircraft and some airlines are limiting the number of alcohol sold to customers. Some British airports are also considering banning alcohol in the terminal.

What are your views on drinking at the airport? Should it be allowed? Should airlines reduce the amount of alcohol you are allowed to consume. Please get in touch with I Love meet and greet and let us know what you think.

By Sarah Anglim at 22 Jan 2018

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