By Caroline Kariuki
A drink or two or more, is the best way to kill time while in flight, as you wait for your flight or to kill your nerves before you fly right? WRONG! Ask Alec Baldwin, Courtney Love, David Hasselhoff and many other not so famous drunk passengers. A drink or two is alright so long as you are able to control yourself as you board and when in flight.
The UK aviation minister Baroness Sugg, launched the “One Too Many” campaign reminds passengers of the costs of drinking to excess when travelling by air. The campaign will be rolled out via Facebook and Instagram social media campaigning the nine pilot airports across the UK.
Facts About Alcohol And Flying
If you are afraid of flying and you consume alcohol to avoid the pre-flight jitters, unfortunately it won’t work. If you have fear of flying, the best thing would be to address the fear. Find out why and think positive and practice deep breathing exercises.
If you are drunk as you board, the crew will not let you board the aircraft because gate agents are required by law to stop you from boarding the plane if you appear intoxicated. This is because you may cause trouble on the flight; therefore it is for your interest, the other passengers and the airline’s interest.
During a flight, the pressure inside the cabin of the aircraft is lower than the pressure on the earth. This affects the body’s ability to absorb oxygen and thus makes the passenger lightheaded. This lightheadedness is termed as hypoxia. Therefore when you drink one beer in-flight the body responds as if you have drank two beers due to the hypoxia. This will make you seem more drunk as compared to if you were on the ground with the same amount of alcohol.
Although most airlines serve alcohol during the flight, some countries have different civil aviation regulations. As a result of this, some may not serve alcohol in flights to some destinations. Cabin crews have the right to refuse to serve alcohol to already intoxicated passengers. In accordance with IATA regulations, passengers are also not allowed to drink alcohol they have brought onto the aircraft.
A BBC documentary report stated that arrests of drunken air passengers rose by 50% between 2016 and 2017. 387 people were arrested in 2017 compared to 250 the previous year. More than half of the cabin crew who responded to the survey said they witnessed disruptive drunken passenger behavior and one in five said they have suffered physical abuse.
Offenders in the UK can receive a maximum sentence of 2 years’ imprisonment according to the Civil Aviation Authority. In Kenya the maximum sentence is also two years’ imprisonment for disruptive behavior resulting from alcohol intoxication.
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