Cabin crew members have reported drunken brawls, assaults, criminal damage and bomb threats by unruly travellers who they say treat aeroplanes like a “nightclub”, The Sunday Express reports. And the steep rise in so-called Floozing – flying while drinking heavily – is said to be because passengers binge booze before boarding the plane and then top up from their own private hoard of alcohol.
The airline industry claims passengers go to extreme lengths to take their alcohol aboard flights – even concealing it in shampoo bottles. There were 271 incidents of disruptive alcohol-fuelled passengers from April 2014 to March 2015 – up from 190 the previous year, according to figures released by the Civil Aviation Authority under a Freedom of Information request.
Phil Ward, managing director of Jet2.com, said his airline had seen a 20 per cent increase in disruptive behaviour. He told The Sun: “It’s the sort of groups that are heading abroad for a celebration and it’s just booze, booze, booze. “They arrive at 5.30am with a beer already in their hand. They want to get lashed. “We have a problem with people bringing bottles of alcohol on board that they’ve bought from Duty Free.
“Passengers need to realise that an aeroplane is not a nightclub. You can’t just step out for some fresh air.” Last month, supermodel Kate Moss was escorted off a flight after a drunken outburst. And newlywed Mohammed Kheyla missed his honeymoon after he was thrown off the plane for drukenly abusing his fellow passengers. The 22-year-old from Blackburn also forced his flight from Manchester to Cuba to be diverted to Bermuda – where he was fined a staggering £1,875.
Aviation security expert Philip Baum urged for stricter penalties for boozy passengers. He said: “The industry needs to look at the accessibility of alcohol. Do we really need alcohol on flights? “Why can’t Duty Free only be available on arrival? “There also needs to be more effective penalties. It can be as little as a £75 fine.”Some major UK airlines already have their own rules for tackling boozy passengers, such as lifetime bans.
However they are calling for industry-wide rules to combat the rise and four airlines have written to Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin urging him to combat the rise. Sharing a list of banned passengers as well as ensuring airport bars are responsible for how much passengers drink are just some of the airlines’ ideas they have put to the Government. Mr McLoughlin said: “The safety of all our air passengers is a matter of utmost importance and we will continue to work with industry and other countries to ensure UK laws appropriately deal with unruly behaviour on flights.”