Ban All Alcohol on Flights?

Recently, there’s been a lot of alcohol-related incidents in flight.  Some resulting in arrests, diversions, etc.  So some travel experts are advocating cutting alcohol out of flight entirely.


View from the Wing put that suggestion out there yesterday.

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.

He goes on to list a few incidents that have made news in the last six-months that were alcohol related.

But the reason they made the news is because they are so outlandish.

I’ve bartended for over ten years, and the saying among bartenders is that “everyone has a story”.  A story about a guest that got way too drunk and things to out of control.

But I think the important part is that every bartender has a story.  Not a story a week.  And not a story of the day.

I have some pretty (now) funny stories to share.  About the time I got bit.  About the time someone knocked himself unconscious by running into the wall.  The time a girl missed throwing her martini into her boyfriends face and threw straight vodka into my

But it’s a few stories, over the course of years and years of bartending.

I think the same is for air travel.  Yes, some people will do some pretty dumb things when drunk, but the outlandish stories are rare.  For all the air travel going on, the stories he cites are pretty insignificant.

I’m sure most flight attendants have a story about a too drunk passenger, but just as they have a story about an entitled elite who was too demanding, or a passenger who wouldn’t leave the seat they decided to assign themselves.

And on a personal level, banning alcohol would make travel so much worse for me.  There’s nothing greater than taking a shot of vodka and falling asleep for the remainder of the flight.

I’m a lot more low-maintenance when I drink because drinking makes me fall asleep.  So the flight attendants don’t have to worry about me for the rest of the flight.


If some people can’t handle drinking on flight and do it anyway, why not make the consequences greater?  If we have to divert because someone got drunk and assaulted the flight attendant, why not charge them for the cost of the diversion?

But banning alcohol for a few people making poor decisions in flight?  That seems ridiculous.  The flight attendants should be monitoring how much alcohol the passengers drink and I’ve seen this in action when I got cut off when flying.

As a bartender, I could be held liable if someone got drunk in the bar and went on to cause trouble.  Why not just hold those serving in-flight passengers to that standard and also make passengers more responsible for the consequences of their own actions?

Just don’t pull an Archer.

archer fly the plane

About Jeanne Marie Hoffman

Former bartender, still a geek. One equal part each cookies, liberty, football, music, travel, libations. Stir vigorously. +Jeanne Marie Hoffman Jeanne on Twitter

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One comment

  1. ” If we have to divert because someone got drunk and assaulted the flight attendant, why not charge them for the cost of the diversion?”

    People often mention this but diversions are incredibly expensive. Very few passengers would be able to pay the 10s of thousands to 100s of thousands of dollars a diversion costs. It would be stupid for an airline to spend tens of thousands of dollars on legal fees, plus additional legal fees to try and enforce the judgment and then have a the responsible party declare bankruptcy. The airline could cause much pain for the responsible party but they are unlikely to be able to collect any money.

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