Ryanair claims drunk passengers pose a ‘threat to safety’

Exclusive: ’We have passengers stuck in airport bars drinking six, eight, 10 pints’

Simon Calder
Travel Correspondent
Thursday 31 August 2017 14:47
Ryanair boss calls for alcohol limit at airports

The row about alcohol and aviation has intensified, with the boss of Europe’s biggest budget airline telling The Independent that stag and hen parties who drink heavily before a flight pose a “threat to safety”.

Ryanair is demanding that airports should not serve alcohol before 10am, and limit passengers to two drinks.

The airline’s chief executive, Michael O’Leary, said: “Our challenge is: we have passengers, particularly during flight delays, stuck in airport bars drinking six, eight, 10 pints.

“They get on board, particularly in groups, and they’re rowdy and they’re a threat to safety. That needs to be regulated.

“Nobody wants to be on a flight with a couple of drunks on board creating trouble.”

The airline is calling for boarding passes to be marked each time the holder buys a drink. But it is unclear how it would work for passengers whose boarding passes are on their mobile devices.

In addition, there are few impediments to passengers printing out multiple boarding passes for the same journey in order to circumvent the limit.

Aviation law forbids anyone being drunk on an aircraft, and airlines have a right to refuse to carry passengers that they consider to be a potential risk to the safety of the aircraft.

Under a code of practice introduced in 2016, airlines, airport bars and retailers are not supposed to “encourage excessive alcohol consumption”.

The code also calls on airlines to “deny boarding where necessary to protect fellow passengers and crew from disruptive behaviour.”

Mr O’Leary denied that the move was intended to boost on-board sales, and therefore hypocritical.

“Drinking on planes is controlled. On our flights, averaging one hour 15 minutes, the most you’ll be served is one or two drinks. And if a passenger is being disruptive, he or she won’t be served with alcohol at all.”

A year ago Jet2 said it would ban sales of alcohol on its flights before 8am.

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