The Consequences of Drinking Too Much in Flight: Grandma Jailed After Drunk Tirade

Another day, another drunk tirade on an airplane.  But this time, it was grandma!

Well, not my grandma.


A woman on a Flybe flight went into a drunken tirade, where she accused a fellow seatmate of being a member of ISIS.

From the Mirror:

Elaine Ryan, aged 60, loudly claimed a man on board the Flybe flight was a member of the terror group and had a bomb on board.

Birmingham Crown Court heard 48 passengers, including children, were terrified by her claims during the 50 minute flight.

Flight experts such as Gary Leff from View from the Wing would suggest that this is another example of why drinking should be banned in flight.

The thing is, crew and passengers reported that she was drinking from a bottle of vodka in flight.

Which makes me wonder again–are problems with drinking in flight partially the crew’s fault?  Do they wait too long to step in, and only do once the drinking turns into an incident?

Here’s my argument as to why I do think it is sometimes the fault of the airline crew (while still being 100% the fault of the passengers as well).

Why didn’t anyone intervene when they first saw grandma drinking out of the bottle? I’d imagine that’s difficult to hide.

I also strongly feel that this isn’t a good reason to ban alcohol on all flights.  As I have said before, these stories are in the news because they are newsworthy.  It isn’t representative of every flight, every day.

I’ve been cut off in flight before (just once!), and it’s something I think should happen.  As a bartender, it’s been my duty to make sure my customers don’t get too drunk and I’ve had to cut someone off or slow them down almost every weekend night shift.  But I’ve only had a few crazy incidents during my entire career.

And only a few of these incidents happen in flight.  It’s just a bigger deal when they happen in the air.

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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  1. Jason Brandt Lewis

    Thank you, Jeanne Marie, for being a rational voice (to counter Gary Leff) for alcohol service on board aircraft. Your comments are spot on.

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