I wonder whether it’s a good idea for people to be served alcohol when they’re stuck in a metal tube.
A drunk Russian just wound up tied up after he was dragged off a plane “shouting and screaming” when he wouldn’t take his seat.
I’m starting to wonder, why do airlines serve alcohol onboard at all?
Lessons from the Mideast
Of course not all airlines serve alcohol. The ones that don’t usually abstain because they’re based in a country where it’s frowned upon, or illegal. EgyptAir, Saudia, and Kuwait Airways are dry airlines for instance. But more cosmopolitan Mideast carriers like Emirates, Etihad, and Qatar serve some of the world’s best alcohol.
The nation of Qatar’s laws are in part based on Sharia law, and contain provisions for flogging of Muslims who consumer alcohol. And yet here’s the business class bar on Qatar’s Airbus A380:
Alcohol and Flying Often Do Not Mix
To be sure most flights have no issue with alcohol at all. But it sure seems as though onboard alcohol-related incidents are reaching epidemic proportions. And the diversions they cause are costly to airlines and passengers alike.
- In May a drunk Alaska Airlines passenger started demanding hugs.
- In April two drunk women played music on their speakers, became abusive when flight attendants wouldn’t serve them more alcohol, went to the lavatory declaring “I’m a suicide bomber” and started an argument with a flight attendant over whether other passengers were behaving properly.
- That same month a drunk American Airlines passenger urinated in his seat. (A JetBlue passenger did this recently as well.)
- In March an Alaska Airlines diversion for a drunk passenger cost the airline $100 per passenger. This was after a drunk passenger declared everyone was going to die onboard when flight attendants cut him off.
Flight attendants had to take down a drunk passenger using an ice pick and a pot of coffee.
And that’s just a sampling of recent incidents.
Should More Airlines Be Dry Airlines?
Most people know that it’s a bad idea to bring your own onboard. (That’s a lesson my seatmate on a short Dallas – Austin flight learned.)
But do you need the airline to serve you alcohol? Or would you rather they didn’t, give the admittedly small risk that some passenger who gets served could drink too much and lose their cool — causing you to take much longer to reach your destination, and possibly misconnect in the process?
Do you book away from dry airlines? Would you go out of your way to buy tickets from airlines that still serve alcohol, if your regular airline stopped?
US Airways never wanted to install inflight internet but realized they were losing ticket purchases because they didn’t have it. So in 2012 they made the investment.
Is alcohol like inflight internet, a must-have for enough passengers that airlines would lose money without it?