Conservative peer Lord Ahmad has announced he wants to “look at” the fact that airport pubs, bars and restaurants can sell alcohol 24 hours a day, saying he is concerned that the current regime may not “fit for purpose”. This the day after a code of practice was launched to tackle the growing number of alcohol related ‘air rage’ incidents.

Alcohol related air rageThe link between alcohol consumption on flights, so-called ‘floozing’ and disruptive passenger behaviour is well established. Under a Freedom of Information request, the Civil Aviation Authority revealed that there had been 271 incidents of alcohol induced disruptive passengers between April 2014 and March 2015. During the same period the year before, there had only been 190 incidents, an overall increase of 40%.

The British Air Transport Association, which represents airlines, yesterday published new guidance stating that airlines will “seek to hold passengers who are disruptive to account for their behaviour”. It states: “This will include recouping from passengers the costs resulting from their disruptive behaviour, including for diversions, damage to aircraft and delays”. The new code of practice has been signed by airlines including Easyjet, Flybe, Jet2, Monarch, Thomas Cook, Thomson Airways and Virgin Atlantic.

The worst offenders will face travel bans, while airlines have expressed a will to implement measures to prevent people from drinking duty-free alcohol on aircraft. One suggestion is that alcoholic drinks purchased from duty free retailers will have to be kept in “tamper proof” bags and stored in separate locations on planes. Some airlines are also considering putting limits on the number of drinks that can be served, others have suggested they might operate “dry flights” on some routes if cabin crew have concerns about passenger behaviour.

Adrian Pannett, Head of Disruptive Passenger Training at Securicare said, “What we have at present is something of a perfect storm. High spirited holiday makers and highly stressed business travellers both with an almost unlimited access to alcohol. You add to that the increasing delays that are arising out of enhanced security arrangements and you have immense frustration building within a number of individuals whose decision making is impaired, and whose inhibitions are lowered. It’s a problem that needs to be addressed before someone gets seriously hurt..”

“I welcome the code of practice and the message that ‘disruptive behaviour cannot and will not be tolerated’. The ‘zero-tolerance approach’ approach that is being advocated is sounds good, however in practice I think it’s going to be difficult to implement. One thing is for sure however, staff will continue to need the best training available to ready them to respond positive and professionally to those incidents that WILL continue to occur…”

Securicare have worked with airlines extensively over the past 20 years, and been at the leading edge of developing disruptive passenger management solutions. Click here to find out more about our ‘Preventing & Managing Disruptive Passenger Behaviour’ course, and our widely used ‘Disruptive Passenger Restraint System’

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