Published On: Thu, Feb 13th, 2020

After passenger’s attempt to open doors, cabin crew union calls for crackdown on rowdy airline passengers

A trade union representing 25,000 cabin crew has urged government to tighten up laws on drinking alcohol in airports and on planes.

The Unite union said they didn’t want to be killjoys but the current system was a “regulatory mess” and that drinking rules are laxer in airports than they are in pubs.

Unite’s call follows the sentencing of Chloe Haines, who was jailed recently for trying open a door on a flight from Stansted to Turkey.

Unite wants legislation which orders:

  • Passengers be advised at check-in on what constitutes an offence – in the same way they are advised about what not to bring in their luggage.
  • Widespread signage warning of the consequences of rowdy behaviour.
  • At security, those engaged in anti-social behaviour to be barred from travelling.
  • After security, a limit on the consumption and purchase of alcohol. Duty-free shops should not sell alcohol that can be broken down into cans, miniatures and small bottles.
  • Once the flight takes off, alcohol bought from the airport should not be allowed to be drunk.
  • Badly-behaved passangers should be banned from flying for set periods.

Commenting on the Chloe Haines case, Unite’s national officer for civil air transport Oliver Richardson said:

“This was a serious incident that endangered passengers and crew.Our members are reporting a disturbing increase in such incidents on flights, many of them linked to alcohol consumption.”

“The aviation industry has a voluntary code of conduct for dealing with disruptive passengers, but it has proved to be weak and ineffective. We need much stronger preventive measures backed up by legislation.”

“We are calling on ministers to introduce legislation that requires the industry to advise passengers what is expected of them in terms of behaviour, and that, in instances of cases of disruptive conduct, this is backed up by a range of sanctions from fines to imprisonment.”

“If you go into a pub in the UK, drinkers’ behaviour is governed by laws stretching back to the First World War. However, at airports these regulations don’t apply – it is often seen as an alcohol free-for-all which is wide open to abuse. It is a regulatory mess.”

“We don’t want to be killjoys and stop sensible drinking for those going on or returning from holiday, but the safety of airlines’ pilots and cabin crew, and passengers must be paramount.”

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