It’s a little early in the ‘lad’ season for a Brit’s abroad story, but in true British style, six men from Southampton have stolen a march on the competition to become the first pissed-up idiots of 2016 to make news headlines.
Their behaviour was, by anybody’s standard, utterly ridiculous. In an attempt to kick-start their mate’s stag do, and like many before them, they ‘got on the beers’ early.
By the time they boarded their 40p flight to Bratislava they were reportedly already half-cut. But, in true lad style, that was just the start.
Everyone knows that for lads, any mode of transport is a designated lash zone. There’s the ‘banter bus, ‘road beers’, ‘train tear-up’ and, as in this case, the ‘party plane’.
Given their state mid-flight, the cabin crew decided to cut them off. Now, no lad likes having his lash removed. So the obvious next step was a protest. And for all true lads there’s only one protest proven to work: a naked one.
Truly, nothing says “give me back my Carling” like a windmilling penis.
Okay, they were acting like a set of complete arseholes - egged on, I’ve no doubt, by their innate goal to be the lad of all of lads on their epic lad quest. When the cabin crew couldn’t restore order, and the pilot decided an emergency landing in Berlin was in order, it’s all these lads could do but to celebrate, and decide Berlin was probably good for a piss-up anyway.
What they probably didn’t expect was a civil suit being sought by the airline, and a possible £20,000 fine each.
Not laughing now, eh?
In these scenarios it’s all too easy for us to blame these men (because that’s what they are) for being ill-disciplined, inconsiderate oiks. “Fine them!” we all cry, obstinately demanding that they are the lowest of the low and should be banned from flying for life.
Instead of that, let’s track their journey through the airport.
They arrive, let’s say at 7am ahead of their 9am flight. Having passed through customs they’re met with wall-to-wall booze, cigarettes and aftershave – all the hallmarks of a true lad.
In the duty-free hall is a bar, offering free samples of rums, vodka, whisky… the list goes on. They could have headed towards the lounge having already had a fair few shots. But oh, look! The airport bar is open. No other bar in the land is allowed to open at this time, but at the airport for some reason that’s OK.
Heading to the plane you want more and, of course, the airlines oblige. No sooner has the ‘fasten seat belt sign’ been switched off, the little box of joy comes tearing down the aisle.
Inside? Litres of spirits at low, low prices along with beers and wines, all for immediate consumption. Even the aftershaves have alcohol in, if you’re desperate.
The very act of stepping on a plane has become synonymous with alcohol. As has so much else within our society.
For my sins, I used to be a lad. My first two years of university were a veritable lashathon. We even played “drink until you chunder”; a game that certainly had no winners. Thing is, we played this game, and many like it, in licensed venues. They didn’t care if we vomited the beer back up, as long as we were paying for it.
In Blighty, lad culture has helped to turn almost every high street into a patchwork quilt of boozers. The pubs are closing, but the bars and supermarket alcohol aisles are doing just fine. Brits love a drink, and everyone wants a piece.
The likes of Ryanair and their ludicrously cheap flights have helped us move our ‘sessions’ across Europe, searching for a cheaper pint.
Once you arrive, it’s fishbowls and happy hours akimbo. We’re made to believe that the good folk of Bratislava et al want nothing more than groups of English lads pissing cash all over their bars. And maybe it’s true.
As more of us can now afford to move our parties abroad, we’re doing it with ever-increasing blood alcohol levels. Thing is, you can’t pull a plane over - and the number of alcohol-related ‘disruptive incidents’ on flights doubled between 2013 and 2015.
It’s too easy to blame these lads, but they know what they do. They’re just a set of pissed-up morons chasing their laddish dreams. Of course they’re responsible for their actions, but so are the airports, the airlines and the alcohol industry pouring booze down their necks at any given opportunity.
Sure, Ryanair can fine these guys, but they shouldn’t dare try and take the moral high ground. Cheap stag dos and booze-fuelled weekends away are big business for them - and marauding groups of lads are an inevitable byproduct.
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