View Full Version : Two Drink Limit on U.S. Aircraft? - CNN

26th Jul 2001, 02:26
Would this be unfair to some nationalities <g>?


Senator wants two-drink limit on planes
July 25, 2001 Posted: 3:27 PM EDT (1927 GMT)

By Thurston Hatcher

(CNN) -- You're settling into your long flight to Seattle and sipping the last of that Chardonnay, when you summon the flight attendant for another glass.

"Sorry," she says, "but I'm afraid you've had enough. Two's the limit."

Quotas in the cabin? It could happen.

U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein has asked airlines to limit the number of drinks they serve to passengers in an effort to curtail the number of "air rage" incidents.

Airlines have quickly rejected the idea, and flight attendants -- while saying they're alarmed by air rage -- also say they aren't eager to become the drink police.

Nevertheless, in her letters to seven major airlines, the California Democrat urges their managements to set the limits voluntarily or face possible congressional action.

"In view of the 5,000 'air rage' incidents each year," Feinstein wrote, "I believe it is time for the airline industry to set standards voluntarily, or else Congress may well step in." Her letter was sent to the CEOs of Delta, Continental, Northwest, US Airways, United, Southwest and American.

She said she's writing legislation that would limit passengers on domestic flights to two drinks.

"I hope that introducing this legislation will not be necessary and you will be willing to voluntarily set limits on how many drinks a passenger can consume," said Feinstein, who could not be reached for comment. "Absent that, I am prepared to proceed with the legislation."

Airlines: 'Poor public policy'
Alcohol has been cited as a factor in some disruptions -- incidents that flight attendants and others say are on the increase.

The Federal Aviation Administration listed 306 reported incidents involving unruly passengers in 1999 and 314 incidents in 2000, up from 146 in 1995. There have been 100 reported incidents so far this year.

In one case earlier this year, a United Airlines flight from San Francisco, California, to Shanghai, China, was diverted to Alaska when twin sisters were accused of interfering with the crew.

One was accused of choking a flight attendant and the other was accused of hitting two flight attendants and the plane's captain. Witnesses said the twins had been drinking.

The Air Transport Association, which represents the major airlines, maintains that Feinstein's proposal is the wrong way to address the problem.

"This particular proposal represents poor public policy that would unfairly and unilaterally penalize the hundreds of millions of law-abiding, cooperative passengers simply because of the disruptive and unruly and oftentimes illegal conduct of a few," ATA spokesman Michael Wascom said.

He said that airlines already limit alcohol consumption by not serving drinks to intoxicated or underage passengers, and may forbid some passengers from even boarding planes.

"There are all types of safeguards already in place," he said.

Flight attendants oppose limits
A spokeswoman with the Association of Flight Attendants -- which is urging airlines and the government to do more to combat air rage -- said the organization agrees with Feinstein's objective but not her approach.

It wants airlines to establish what it terms more responsible alcohol policies, including not serving alcoholic drinks before takeoff, serving only one drink at a time and never using free drinks as compensation for delays or cancellations.

"The problems we see with a two-drink limit is that if a limit is imposed, then airlines need to make sure flight attendants have the tools to enforce that limit," spokeswoman Dawn Deeks said.

She noted that with more than a dozen attendants on some larger flights, the staff would have a hard time monitoring how many drinks passengers were served. Fliers also might bring their own drinks on board or have a drink served to a traveling companion. The limit also might prompt some to drink more heavily beforehand.

"It could potentially cause a lot more tension and a lot more problems on the aircraft," Deeks said.

An advocate for passengers also questioned the wisdom of the approach.

"I'm not saying it's not a valid area to be concerned about, but we need to not isolate one particular component of a larger problem and think that's going to really help," said David Stempler, president of the Washington, D.C.-based Air Travelers Association.


26th Jul 2001, 05:21
I know that I will probably get shot to pieces for saying this but wha the hell:

Can smoking on a/c not be reintroduced on some flights? e.g. out of 10 long haul flights a day to from LHR - JFK, can 2 of them be smoking flights? ( I hasten to add this is just an example before anyone points out the number of flights a day between LHR and JFK)

A number of air rage incidents have happened because pax are unable to smoke on board and get very annoyed due to nicotine withdrawl.

I stand corrected but would this be an option at all?

26th Jul 2001, 09:48
Would apear to many of us, the ban on smoking was a bigger part of air rage than the alcohol itself...both are a bad combination...interesting solution...so nobody will travel overseas on US carriers anymore...

26th Jul 2001, 21:05
They should institute this rule into the UK immediately, or at least shut the pubs, we see pax falling drunk at 5am. A part of the world I used to work in had a yellow line at the airports, if you could walk the line you could go on board. Either that or we should be able to tranqualize them!!!!!!!!At least we get to close the door on the rabble but the poor F/A's hate it, especially the 18 to 30 Ibiza !!!!!
:D :D ;)

26th Jul 2001, 23:26
But - how will Norwegians be able to travel, if this is introduced?

Ex Servant
27th Jul 2001, 00:02
Can't see the UK charter airlines going for it. They'd lose money on sales and have to give the C/A's a pay rise to make up for the loss of commission. Whilst all C/A's complain about drunks what choice do they have? Sell the drink to earn some money but take a chance on safety or stay safe but skint? I don't care what the bosses say. In this case commercial pressure on the cabin crews does have an effect on safety.

27th Jul 2001, 12:28
My favorite way to deal with drunks on board (besides just tossing 'em off the airplane) is to crank up both the cabin altitude and the heat:

Puts em' right to sleep.

27th Jul 2001, 12:42
I have more problems with disruptive passengers who come on board with babies than I ever do with passengers who have been drinking. Obviously I've been very lucky but I don't suppose anyone would consider banning babies. 99% of people can manage to have a quiet drink without disrupting the rest of the world and I agree with the earlier posts, there are already plenty of ways of dealing with passengers or potential passengers who have been drinking. There are enough regs as it is, it's just a matter of enforcing them.

27th Jul 2001, 13:58
Who the he** does this lady think she is ?
I fly frequently up front on business, and take a charter to Ibiza once a year. I enjoy several drinks on board and have never been anything other than the model passenger. I would be livid if i was restricted to having only 2 drinks on board. I agree with the earlier post that it is more annoying to be sitting next to a screaming child than someone who has had a few gins! :mad: :mad: :mad: :mad:

27th Jul 2001, 20:16
A far better idea than limiting the number of drinks onboard would be to ban the pubs in the departure lounges, such that the plane is not full of boozed-up idiots at the start of the flight. At least drinks can be reasonably regulated with discretion on a flight, whereas nobody can tell how many have been drunk before a flight.

Somebody should stop airports being yet another shopping centre and provide more seating too. More relaxed passengers who are rested, not having been on a duty-free spree and exhausted from carrying their bags of goodies would surely reduce air rage as well?

Lee Dingedge
27th Jul 2001, 20:53
Hey, are they going to impose this limit on the passengers as well....?

28th Jul 2001, 17:51
Hey Boys and Girls, I don't think it's a question of a 2 drink limit or a smoking ban that causes "Air Rage"! I think it's those converted "Iron Maidens" they call economy seats!

I regularily fly between Canada and Asia on many Airlines that use "Asian Seating" including many NA Carriers and I can tell you I would rather sit in an S-61 Seat for 24 hours straight than have to go through that very often! Maybe even a Bell 212 troop seat would be better. That is what causes the biggest uproar.

Get a little less chinsy on the Eco seating and I can guarentee an improvement!

Cheers :eek: OffshoreIgor :eek: