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FAA Wants To Control How Much Alcohol Flyers Drink At Airports
Refreshing glass of ice tea (or alcohol mix) centered on the window of a jumbo airplane, with blue sky above and snowy white clowds below.
NLN/Getty Images

The Federal Aviation Administration wants to become a nagging spouse, counting your drinks and then berating you when you order another cocktail.

Of course, there has been some recent madness in the skies, including the most recent incident when a man appearing to be intoxicating went on a rampage that ended with him being taped to a chair. That has prompted the FAA to decide that alcohol consumption in airports should be limited.

“As the number of passengers traveling has increased, so has the number of unruly and unsafe behavior incidents on planes and in airports,” FAA Administrator Steve Dickson said in a statement. “Our investigations show that alcohol often contributes to this unsafe behavior. The FAA requests that airports work with their concessionaires to help avoid this.”

“Even though FAA regulations specifically prohibit the consumption of alcohol aboard an aircraft that is not served by the airline, we have received reports that some airport concessionaires have offered alcohol ‘to go,’ and passengers believe they can carry that alcohol onto their flights or they become inebriated during the boarding process,” he said.

The FAA also suggested that airports could bring greater awareness of alcohol prohibition on flights through “signage, public service announcement, and concessionaire education.”

The air agency has received more than 3,700 reports of unruly passengers so far in 2021, with more than 70% of incidents related to mask requirements on board planes.

That’s putting a lot of pressure on flight attendants.

A recent national survey of nearly 5,000 flight attendants by the Association of Flight Attendants “found that over 85 percent of all respondents had dealt with unruly passengers as air travel picked up in the first half of 2021. More than half (58%) had experienced at least five incidents this year. A shocking 17 percent reported experiencing a physical incident,” the association said.

“This survey confirms what we all know, the vitriol, verbal and physical abuse from a small group of passengers is completely out of control, and is putting other passengers and flight crew at risk. This is not just about masks as some have attempted to claim. There is a lot more going on here and the solutions require a series of actions in coordination across aviation,” said association President Sara Nelson. “It is time to make the FAA ‘zero tolerance’ policy permanent, the Department of Justice to utilize existing statute to conduct criminal prosecution, and implement a series of actions proposed by our union to keep problems on the ground and respond effectively in the event of incidents.”

“This is not a ‘new normal’ we are willing to accept,” Nelson continued. “We know the government, airlines, airports, and all stakeholders can take actions together to keep us safe and flying friendly. We will be sharing survey findings with FAA, DOT, TSA, and FBI to help more fully identify the problems and our union’s proposed actions to affect positive change.”

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