“It’s So Out Of Control”: Airlines Mull Ending Alcohol Service As In-Flight Incidents Skyrocket
Now that Covid lockdowns are ending, Americans can get back to what they do best: getting into fist fights on airplanes.
Yes, despite the fact that travel restrictions are ending and citizens can get back to vacationing over the summer, things continue to get ornery in the “friendly skies”.
The incidents have become so common, there has been a discussion about ending everyone’s favorite travel companion: alcohol on flights.
Paul Hartshorn, Jr., communications chair for the Association of Professional Flight Attendants, told Yahoo: “Our flight attendants are being verbally abused—it’s safe to say on every flight. [They’re] physically abused in numbers we’ve never seen in the airline industry. It’s so out of control, it’s almost unbelievable.”
American Airlines flight attendants filed 1,500 passenger disturbance reports in April, the report noted. Hartshorn continued: “More times than not, it is exacerbated by the use of alcohol in the terminal or sneaking it on board. So those go hand in hand.”
This has resulted in the flight attendants union pushing for a delay to return alcohol service to flights. Many airlines paused alcohol service during the pandemic. American Airlines says service will resume after September 13, when it will also lift its mask rules.
Hartshorn continued: “The decision to delay the alcohol until masks are no longer required was a flight attendant union move. American didn’t want to do that, that was APFA.”
The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA president Sara Nelson also advocated for the ban: “The incidents of violence on planes is out of control and alcohol is often a contributor. The federal government should provide guidance to airlines and airports on pausing alcohol sales for a period of time. We should do everything in our power to remove contributors to the problem.”
One aptly named aviation expert, Christine Negroni, added: “I know going back many many years alcohol has been considered a high trigger for unruly passenger behavior. But I don’t know if you can put all the blame on alcohol.”
As a result, the FAA is stepping up consequences for unruly behavior, Yahoo notes:
Federal officials are taking some additional steps to try to tamp down the issue. The Federal Aviation Administration has announced a “zero tolerance policy” against any interference with flight crews, as well as a handful of lofty civil fines—as high as $32,750—against passengers who committed some of the more egregious infractions.
Recall, it was just two weeks ago we wrote about two men who were ejected from a flight in San Francisco over an argument about elbow room.
Two passengers had to be removed from the plane after an argument over elbow room on an armrest. We suggested then what we’ll say again now: Maybe airlines should take note of what these disruptions cost as they figure out new and creative ways to cram economy flyers even closer together.
Google product director Jack Krawczyk documented the spat on Twitter, writing: “On my first flight in 15 months, of course we were rerouted back to the gate because two passengers got into a physical altercation over elbow placement upon arm rests.”
The flight was on its way to Las Vegas when the incident took place before takeoff, the NY Post reports. The men involved in the altercation haven’t been identified, but were detained when an officer arrived at the gate.
Despite neither man wanting to “pursue further police action”, they weren’t allowed back on the flight.
One response to Krawczyk’s Tweet read: “This is fucking why I HATE traveling economy. You’re cramming a bunch of uneducated low lives into cheap seats with barely any leg and arm room and expecting them to be civil? Throw in them having to wear masks now and good LUCK.”
And with airlines strapped and the government bailout dole looking like it’s finally drying up, it doesn’t look as though the situation is going to be getting better for air travelers anytime soon.
Mon, 06/28/2021 – 19:50