Inebriated passenger incidents have increased by 50%, causing some airlines to institute drink limits.

By Devon Walsh
Updated August 15, 2017
rate of drunken passengers on plane increase
Credit: NLN / Getty Images

We all know that a little booze can take the edge off an otherwise stressful travel experience, but it seems that some passengers are taking things too far. Drunk airline customer arrests increased by 50% in the U.K. this year. The problem has already caused one airline, Ireland's Ryanair, to call for a two-drink maximum at airport bars.

Between February 2016 and 2017, airlines had 387 inebriated passengers arrested. Last year that number was 255. These travelers have reportedly committed crimes like groping and other forms of physical abuse against airline staff and other flyers. One first-class passenger even attempted to pull an unsuspecting flight attendant into his onboard bed. Furthermore, some of these passengers uttered racist and sexually offensive vitriol and disobeyed flight attendant orders to sit down and buckle up.

Although a voluntary code of conduct for disruptive passengers was instated and adopted by most airlines in the U.K in July of last year, British officials are considering tougher laws. Most airline employees believe the code isn’t working. Although most airlines discourage the practice, technically, it currently remains legal to drink one’s own alcohol onboard an aircraft. When duty-free bottles are popped and things start to get out of hand, with flight attendants having no ability to regulate intake. Airlines UK, responsible for carriers like Virgin, British Airways, and EasyJet, hopes that consumption of a passenger's own alcohol on board will be made a criminal offense. Ryanair had banned duty-free alcohol on board already.

In the meantime, we hope you do flight attendants a solid, and take it easy. Besides, we all know food and booze don't taste nearly as good while we're in the air (unless, of course, it's specifically designed for flying like this beer from Cathay Pacific was). Perhaps opt for a soothing cup of tea instead.