By Mike | October 28, 2009
I recently read an interesting article, by Christopher Elliott, who is a travel columnist for National Geographic Traveler Magazine. He suggests that airlines, or the FAA should ban alcohol on flights because it creates many dangerous and uncomfortable/annoying situations. He provides a few extreme examples, such as a harrowing experience on an Amsterdam – NYC flight where overly intoxicated men were lining up to use the lavoratory and groping female passengers and flight attendants along the way. Is this a rediculous series of events? Yes. Is it likely a singular instance that stands our in this person’s mind? Probably. Is it a few bad apples ruining things for the rest of us, the majority? Definitely.
Here is the point that I am trying to make. Alcohol on flights doesn’t cause problems, its people that drink in access and become roudy and obnoxious that do. I have been on my share of domestic, charter, and international flights and haven’t seen the serving of alcohol cause any problems. Now consider the fact that I have been on several spring break flights – flights where you would expect wild college kids to go crazy and overboard with the alcohol…but they didn’t. I am not a huge drinker, and generally don’t drink on shorter domestic flights. However, when flying longer international flights, I like knocking back a few strong cocktails because it helps me fall asleep, and sleep through the flight. Now I don’t know about you, but when I sleep, I don’t get annoying, violent, or belligerent.
Mr. Elliot writes that alcohol hightens stressful situations, and that on a plane its harder to ignore or get away from a beligerent drunk. He also mentions that alcohol at higher altitudes is much more toxic/intoxicating than at ground level. This is true, however a simple reminder of this for people will likely solve that problem. Most average people aren’t on the plane to get wasted, especially since getting drunk on a plane is generally a very uncomfortable situation. I would be ok with limiting the number of drinks that each person can have, although then you run into the problem of weight and tollerance. I think that flight attendants should act like bar tenders – they should cut people off before they push themselves over the top.
One more thing – even we did stop the serving of alcohol on flights, it wouldn’t solve any of the issues, because the people that do want to be drunk on a plane still will be. Their are airport bars which serve alcohol, and don’t forget about the duty free shops which sell alcohol for cheap. Also don’t forget, airlines are struggling as it is, taking away alcohol, one of their revenue sources, is probably not going to help the situation.
I am very interested to get our readers take on this one. Please reply with your comments.