Time to wave goodbye to the pre-flight pint in crackdown on boozy flights

Lords Committee report shows 442 people were arrested for drunken behaviour at UK airports over the last two years.

Wetherspoon said new regulation was not needed Reuters

The days of having an early morning pint at the airport before jetting off on holidays or flying out for a weekend away might be numbered.

Airports are exempt from the Licensing Act 2003, which regulates the sale and supply of alcohol and opening hours for licensed premises. That allows passengers to buy drinks on selected premise at any time of the day, even before an early flight.

However, a report by the House of Lords has called for an end to 24-hour boozing after it found that the consumption of alcohol before a flight, particularly in the early hours, is directly connected with so-called "air rage" incidents. They have seen 442 people arrested for drunken behaviour over the last two years.

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"No one travelling on an international flight can fail to notice that, once they have gone through customs, control of the sale of alcohol seems to be relaxed, and the permitted hours even more so.

"This is because the Licensing Act 2003 is expressly disapplied from such areas.

"The incidents occurring on flights are notorious, sometimes requiring flights to be diverted, and more often than not such incidents are the consequence of alcohol consumed airside before the flight."

According to the review, budget airline Jet2 suffered 536 alcohol-related incidents on its flights last summer, while data from the charity group Alcohol Concern showed 20% of passengers flying out of UK terminals admitted having a drink while at the airport.

"Incidents occurring on flights are notorious, sometimes requiring flights to be diverted, and more often than not such incidents are the consequence of alcohol consumed airside before the flight," a Lords committee report said.

"The Civil Aviation Authority report a 36 per cent increase in disruptive passenger incidents in the UK between 2014 and 2015. This is a large number of incidents for a relatively small airline."

The restrictions, however, are likely to prove unpopular with travellers who enjoy a pint or a glass of wine before boarding. Wetherspoon, which operates pubs at a number of UK airports, said it "did not believe extra regulation was needed" highlighting staff were aware of their responsibilities in terms of not serving intoxicated customers.

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