Why Are So Many U.K. Air Pax Drunk?

Open Jaw

Stories of drunken airplane pax appear almost daily, but you may wonder whether there are actually more of them today or if people just love writing and reading about them.

The answer? There's more of them. The U.K.'s Civil Aviation Authority has just released stats that reveal a staggering 40% rise in incidents since 2014.

From April 2014 to March 2015, there were 271 incidents, 81 more than the previous period. The list of liquor-fueled in-flight behaviour includes everything from brawls to bomb threats, assaults on other pax and crew to racist comments – even genital exposure.

British LCC Jet2 has had enough. They are imposing big fines and threatening legal action against loutish pax, including the potential for lifetime bans.

The problem has gotten so bad at GLA that the airport has announced plans to employ bouncers to patrols its bars, with special attention to party groups heading to hard-drinking destinations like Ibiza and Alicante.

Ryanair is taking action too, banning pax departing GLA from bringing their own booze on flights to Ibiza.

Many hope the piecemeal approach turns into something industry wide, and 4 carriers have written to U.K. Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin asking for help, including encouraging airlines to share lists of problematic pax and putting more responsibility on airport bars, which serve travellers before flights.

It's not just Brits who are flying hammered. IATA statistics show that incidents of unruly behaviour across the industry skyrocketed from 500 in 2007 to over 6,000 in 2011.

Barring an outright ban on in-flight alcohol, harsher penalties may be the best deterrent. Pax may not be at the controls of an airplane, but their bad behaviour can threaten – or at the least highly inconvenience – the lives of hundreds of others.

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