It’s a holiday tradition many people are always keen to uphold, regardless of the disgustingly early time of morning and the flight they’re about to catch.
However, round-the-clock drinking at UK airports could be banned under new proposals being put forward by the government.
Licensing laws at airport terminals are set to be reviewed by the Home Office, meaning a change in drinking times and alcohol allowance for passengers.
Airlines, have been calling for changes in airport drinking regulations – especially drinking before flights – for some time now, as they’re often left with the consequences of disorderly passengers. A recent spike in the number of arrests for drunken behaviour has forced the issue into the public eye.
Home Office minister Victoria Atkins said disruptive or drunk behaviour on flights was unacceptable, and more details on the new proposals will be released today, November 1, reports The Guardian.
Earlier this year, it was revealed drunk passengers could face fines of up to £80,000 if a plane has to be diverted due to their behaviour. While passengers found to be drunk on a plane could be fined up to £5,000 and face up to two years in prison.
In September, Glasgow airport said in the past year, an average of 65 per cent of drunken incidents on flights come from passengers travelling in groups, such as stag and hen parties.
However, Francois Bourienne, chair of the UK Travel Retail Forum, said:
Cases of serious disruptive behaviour are not just limited to younger parties of lads and girls.
Traditionally, late September and October is a popular time for travellers taking advantage of cheaper flights or jetting off for end-of-season parties. We want to particularly remind these groups consequences will be enforced and that means the party could end before you reach your destination.
Earlier this year, a Ryanair flight to Ibiza was forced to turn around and head back to Manchester after only 36 minutes due to a ‘disruptive passenger’. Police then arrested a woman on suspicion of being drunk onboard an aircraft.
An investigation by BBC One’s Panorama revealed a 70 per cent increase in arrests in 2017 due to drunken behaviour on flights or at airports in the UK. This figure has risen from 225 in 2016 to 387 in the following year.
In July this year, the One Too Many campaign was launched, bringing together partners from the aviation industry to raise awareness for the need to fly responsibly.
Launching the campaign, Francois Bourienne said:
It is an offence to be drunk on a plane. Not least to other passengers. The One Too Many campaign is to remind people of the consequences of irresponsible drinking at any stage of their journey and to highlight the fact that, while serious disruptive behaviour remains rare, it can be costly and cause delays. Other passengers become upset and a lot of holidays are ruined.
The risks of drinking too much at an airport include being denied boarding, having the plane you’re on diverted, as well as possible fines and punishments.
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Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.