Luxurious Pub Flights once beckoned drinks fans to the skies with lounge-inspired cabins — but those days have long passed. In more recent times, airlines have paused serving alcoholic beverages as a result of the pandemic, and several major carriers are yet to bring cocktail menus back to the masses. With limited options available on flights, passengers are increasingly taking their own alcohol aboard, according to airline executives.
With a record number of incident reports to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) — 3,100 so far this year with $560,000 in fines issued — industry insiders are pointing to intoxicated travelers as the root cause of the problem.
American Airlines CEO Doug Parker told employees in a question and answer session that unruly passengers are being influenced by alcohol that was brought onto the plane and consumed in violation of federal regulations. In his talk, a video of which was reviewed by the travel blog “View From the Wing,” Parker indicated that federal law prohibited flyers from bringing their own booze on the plane, but the rules are not so clear.
While the Transportation Security Agency (TSA) permits miniature bottles of alcohol (smaller than 3.4 oz) in carry-on luggage, the FAA prohibits “passengers from drinking alcohol on board the aircraft unless it is served by the air carrier.”
As a woman flying from England to Spain in 2017 discovered upon arrest, similar rules apply on international flights as well.
In addition, the FAA prohibits airlines from boarding anybody that appears to be intoxicated or under the influence, and each passenger is screened by agents during the check-in process. These regulations are designed to create a safe environment for voyagers and staff.
After a year of limited travel, many of us are anxious to get back in the air and on vacation, with a drink in hand. But as planes are cleared for takeoff, let’s leave it up to the professionals — flight attendants — to provide the toasts.