Despite the best attempts of the tour and travel industry to contain them and/or reduce their numbers, the number of disruptive boozy British passengers on board flights and in airports has not let up.
The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has released a report showing that more than 326 incidents of disruptive passenger behavior were reported in the first 10 months of the year. This translates to 1.07 incidents a day.
The majority of these were alcohol-related and frequently involved abusive and sometimes violent behavior. The 10-month number is similar to full-year figures for 2016 and 2017, when more than 400 incidents were reported. These figures have risen dramatically since 2013 when only 98 incidents were reported.
Airlines UK, the trade organization for UK registered airlines, has called for the “active involvement of government” to help solve the problem.
A Home Office review is currently looking at regulating sales of alcohol at international airports.
Some airlines cracked down on badly behaved passengers in a bid to stem the number of incidents. It has repeatedly called for limits on the amount of alcohol passengers can drink before boarding a flight.
Commenting on the report, Richard Stephenson, director of communications for CAA, said: “Everyone wants their holiday flights to be enjoyable and trouble-free this Christmas. Drunken and abusive behavior on an airplane is totally unacceptable. Not only does it upset everyone else, but it can also jeopardize flight safety.
He added, “Criminal charges should be brought against offenders more often to act as a deterrent – passengers need to know they will face the legal consequences of disorderly behavior.”
Those found guilty can be jailed for up to five years for endangering the safety of an aircraft and can face fines and compensation costs.
Industry figures and others have called for such measures as a ban on the sale of alcohol at airports before 10 a.m. or a 24-hour ban on the sale of alcohol on airport premises, but none have been implemented. And judging by the tenor of reader comments on posted articles about the issue, there seems to be little public support for such across-the-board bans on alcohol.