Airports are often described as having ‘no time zone’, once you have checked your bags in and gone through security you can convince yourself it’s morning, noon or night. Which is why enjoying the odd alcoholic drink or two at the airport is common practice regardless of the time in the ‘real world’.
But Ryanair have grown tired of passengers boarding their planes and causing chaos after one too many drinks. Despite continuing to sell alcohol in their cabins, they have called for a ban on the sale of alcoholic drinks before 10am at airports and even a limit to two drinks per passenger after that.
There have been many incidents on Ryan Air flights because of inebriated passengers, the latest saw a flight to Ibiza diverted to Paris so three drunken passengers could be removed and retained by French police.
A spokesperson for Ryan Air commented “It’s completely unfair that airports can profit from the unlimited sale of alcohol to passengers and leave the airlines to deal with the safety consequences.” But airports don’t see it as their responsibility with Dublin airport branding Ryanair’s suggestion as “Draconian”.
Stansted Airport encourages passengers to have one last drink before flying.
The problem of pre-flight drinking and becoming unruly on flights shows no signs of letting up, A BBC investigation reported a 50% increase in the number of people arrested on British flights in the year ending February 2017 over the previous year. And Police made 387 arrests at airports and on planes last year.
In a move to cut down on rowdy behaviour, last year Ryanair imposed a ban on passengers boarding flights to party destinations Ibiza and Alicante from Glasgow and Manchester with duty-free alcohol. The rule doesn’t seem to have been imposed though and problems have continued.
Reactions by passengers to the ban have been mixed, the Guardian interviewed people drinking in Manchester airport, many in anticipation of a night out in Ibiza as soon as they drop their bags off at their hotel. For most, the airport is a place to start their holiday with younger passengers admitting they’ll “get in as many as they can” before boarding their short flight.
The binge drinking culture that is so prevalent in the UK, and even more so in summer months en route to our well-deserved holidays, isn’t likely to change. Passengers predict there will be other ways of getting their drinks in if a ban is imposed, like smuggling duty free minis onto the plane.
We don’t know the official line that airports have taken on Ryanair’s call for a morning drinking ban, but its clear things aren’t going to change overnight. Enjoy a drink with your pre-holiday cooked breakfast for now, just make sure you don’t over-do it!