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Dealing with drunk passengers

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Dealing with drunk passengers

Old 14th Oct 2013, 17:35
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And if that drunken slob also happens to have some medical condition that reacts badly to the administered drugs, and he croaks it on the flight, then someone is going to be guilty of manslaughter. Bad idea.
Then he shouldn't get drunk and disorderly. Sorry but I have no sympathy for anyone who willingly endangers the safety of an aircraft and its occupants. One less drunken slob to pollute the earth.
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Old 14th Oct 2013, 17:50
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hi all,

The rule here is that no one should be drunk on board. That is the law.

Now the reality is different and one particular destination is problematic : Ibiza (night flying)

All airlines encounter problems. They all talk and exchange experiences to see if there are some trends and to try to find a solution to the never ending problems.

Airport are of no help as selling miniatures and small bottles of wines a knock down prices.
Bars in airport are too happy to make good money so they sale alcohol without restriction.

Airlines have talked to the police and they should be patrolling when Ibiza flights are scheduled. I did 2 of these flights recently from Birmingham and there was no police to be seen.

The CAA does not seem to do anything about it.

The problem for the crews is unless someone is totally drunk and can/is refused carriage, we have no means of accurately checking if someone has drunk too much.
In doubt we restrict the sales to certain individuals to just soft drinks. For the others it is more complicated as even if you restrict the sales to let's say 2 miniatures per person, most of them got some alcohol in the duty free shop they pour once our backs are turned.

That is the reason why some flights starting well, can end up being total mayhem due to the fact lots of pax have drunk their own alcohol.

There is a simple, easy solution. No alcohol for these flights ( a bit like football flights which have become so easy to operate), and a refusal in the terminal to serve alcohol. The weapon is the boarding pass. It is easy to check where people are going to.

But no one is taking that decision as making money is more important than the rest.
My airline allows us to stop/ not do services.

But until the CAA takes the reins of the problem and demand that the law is respected, we will carry on having this problem.
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Old 15th Oct 2013, 00:30
  #43 (permalink)  
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on time all the time Has answered the question. Money.

It is well known that ground staff don't want to challenge the possible drunk because of an unexpected violent response (physical or verbal). So they tend to let them board and pass on the problem. Perhaps if ground staff were still part of the airline they could enforce the rules? Not going to happen.

I came back from Denmark a few years ago with a VERY rowdy sports club that had won their fixture. Miserable flight for 85% of pax but no staff told them to shut up because they gave every indication of being capable of a lot more rowdiness.

It is similar to the excess hand baggage problem - don't stop the pax as they might harangue you and almost certainly delay boarding. So let them all get on board and hope for the best.

This was the exception that proved the rule. Sounds like CC and FC did a great job.

Last edited by PAXboy; 15th Oct 2013 at 02:16.
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Old 15th Oct 2013, 01:35
  #44 (permalink)  

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I came back from Denmark a few years ago with a VERY rowdy sports club that had won their fixture. Miserable flight for 85% of pax but no staff told them to shut up because they gave every indication of being capable of a lot more rowdiness.
Many years ago a CASA (Aus Civil Aviation Safety Authority) Examiner of Airmen was on my flight deck for a surveillance flight. During the turn around he wanted to "speak" with the cabin crew. Not knowing the guy, nor having experienced this previously, I sat in to observe.

One of the questions he asked the CC was how they'd deal with pax misbehaving with regards to alcohol. The CC rattled off all the wisdom of the day. He ended by suggesting they consider if required, having the Captain make a PA advising pax that a return to departure would be required if they didn't behave.

I had great pleasure a year or so later when faced with the very same problem, to email the Examiner to tell him the "solution" worked beautifully. Pax we're misbehaving and not following instructions on what was supposed to be a dry flight. The instant I advised that if "drinking alcohol didn't cease immediately I would have no alternative but to turn around and return to the mine site" all the booze was put away.

If WE accept the behaviour because we don't want to divert, or be late, or inconvenience the majority of pax, to some degree we tacitly endorse the bad bahaviour.
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Old 15th Oct 2013, 14:05
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If WE accept the behaviour because we don't want to divert, or be late, or inconvenience the majority of pax, to some degree we tacitly endorse the bad bahaviour.
Amen to that.

I am frequently surprised by tales of disruptive and drunken pax who the Captain decided weren't worth the trouble of writing a report over so they just let it go...

Own goal I'm afraid. The solution is in our hands if we choose (ie are Professional enough) to use it.
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Old 15th Oct 2013, 14:41
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I saw two about-to-be-pax airside in GLA emptying two 500ml water bottles down the sink and refilling them from a litre bottle of duty-free vodka. About 05:00, as MrsP and I were heading for the gate for a flight at 06:00. No staff to be seen, and they'd buggad off before I could find anyone to warn. I felt sorry for the CC who'd have to deal with them.
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Old 15th Oct 2013, 15:26
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As long as there are airlines offering cheap tickets and then selling refreshments on board there will always be SLF preferring to "self cater".

Many do not understand the effect cabin altitude has on tolerance to alcohol or, in many cases do not care how miserable they make other pasengers flights.
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Old 15th Oct 2013, 16:42
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worst I ever saw was a mid-day flight from Schipol to Reykjavik

The SLF, almost all Icelanders, had arrived early and were getting totally slaughtered in a bar airside (men & women - anyone over about 15)- it was so bad that the security staff had corralled them in using bench seats so they had exclusive use of one bar. I questioned the security guy and he said "it was always like this - they get on the plane and pass out and as long as the booze flows at the bar they don't get rowdy...."
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Old 22nd Oct 2013, 14:42
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Please excuse my determinist reply to the problem of drunk passengers.

I work in an environment where drunkenness is variably tolerated.

In the Emergency Department of hospitals it is de rigeur that an assessment is made as to whether a person is drunk or displaying symptoms of other illnesses.

In a breast augmentation clinic a drunk client would be removed by police.

It would appear to me that in aviation the airline staff are slaves to on the one hand to the airport corporations, the latter's interests being to intoxicate passengers for profit, and on the other to their employers whose interests lie in bums on seats.

I see no way out of this except a critical incident, or some simple advice to airline staff, to "harden up" and refuse embarkation to the intoxicated.

It is not an easy choice.

Then again breast augmentation is fraught.
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Old 22nd Oct 2013, 17:49
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I had to divert a flight before because of a drunken passenger in Business Class. When the captain went back to try and calm the man he got headbutted. Flight landed at the local airport, man was in court within an hour or 2. His excuse? Mixing sleeping tablets and booze, claimed he couldn't remember a thing.

I had another one where the crew gave me a heads up that they may need to divert due drunken pax. Few minutes they called back saying there was an off duty cop on board, pax was unconscious and restrained, continuing to dest (about 7 hours away).

I always thought pilots were given cable ties to restrain violent pax? And are pax who cause a divert liable for extra fuel costs/handling fees etc incurred? Because they should be!
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Old 23rd Oct 2013, 09:24
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I always thought pilots were given cable ties to restrain violent pax?
We are, several pairs, and handcuffs too. But can you see the problem with that? The required equipment is on the wrong side of the door! In flight, the best tools to deal with this problem are mature, well trained cabin crew - who it appears were present when dealing with drunken oaf from Malta. As ever, the best way of handling these problems is prevention but that is easier said than done. However, Easyjet could do everyone a big favour and very loudly announce that this guy will never fly with them again. We also need a very public bit of litigation where a perpetrator is sued by an airline for the recovery costs of incurred. This should be a David & Goliath type event, but in reverse!
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Old 23rd Oct 2013, 10:00
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Many years ago I operated a charter taking scottish rugby fans from Edinburgh to Cardiff and return. Two legs each way. They were "well away" on all sectors but they were the happiest, most well behaved, passengers I have had the pleasure to have on board. (Scotland won). Lots of singing but nothing too vile as they seemed to respect our female CS who, in fact, were happy to join in. I guess that was an exception that proves the rule because I have had a number of far less pleasant experiences.
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Old 27th Oct 2013, 11:18
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Originally Posted by Una
I always thought pilots were given cable ties to restrain violent pax? And are pax who cause a divert liable for extra fuel costs/handling fees etc incurred? Because they should be!
Pre 9/11 (probably in 2000) a colleague and I were on a Virgin flight from LHR to LAX, sat in the back.
A call went out for a doctor so we asked one of the CC what was going on - "First class passenger is kicking off so we're having to subdue him"

A few minutes later a guy is led past us with a blanket over his head and his hands ziplocked. Definitely an unusual situation!

Later on, I headed for the restrooms at the back and there's our guy spread across the four rear bulk head seats, strapped in with heavy belts and with his ankles and wrists zipped. A CC is sat beside him, on guard.
Later we were told that he'd been trying to snort coke off his seat table and got violent when they tried to stop him.


We were only two hours out of LHR at this point and we diverted to Iceland to get rid of him. Police came on the plane and carried him off.
According to the chatty CC, he'd be fined, have to pay the landing fees, takeoff fees, deice fees and fuel costs. And he was stuck on Iceland waiting for a boat as no airline would carry him!

The above was all gleaned from crew members but I'd be interested if anyone here had any recollection of this flight.
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Old 27th Oct 2013, 12:22
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Grrr

One of the best info given from a doctor I flew with it was to give another shot to a drunk people. If you can not control it just offer another drop. It is like to give a shot to a drug people just with that you can control his/her mind and he/she will follow your instructions. Or even more at a certain time they will fall asleep so then the problem is fixed.

The only backside is that during the process the body can start to vomit any excess of alcohool.

Last edited by Hotelpresident; 27th Oct 2013 at 12:23.
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Old 31st Oct 2013, 14:56
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My trick with disruptive pax was to ask for their passports. I'd just keep them in the cockpit for an hour or so then give them back. No one ever refused and it's funny how quickly people buck up their ideas when you have their passports. A roundabout way of 'maintaining good order and discipline' but it works!
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Old 31st Oct 2013, 18:04
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@ jumbobelle -

brilliant idea which I also found to be quite "sobering" the several times I had it done.

Asking for the passport and informing the culprits that police will be at the gate works. Keep the passport until landing - they'll behave.

Last edited by foxcharliep2; 31st Oct 2013 at 18:05.
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Old 31st Oct 2013, 19:33
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SOP in all airlines I worked for.
Smoking, drunk or disruptive pax: get their passports and keep them until landing.
If needed, pax. Information can be relayed to Police before landing.

They ALWAYS calm down, apologize and get afraid
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Old 1st Nov 2013, 10:36
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My Managua, Nicararagua drunk who kept pinching my FA's butts responded quite well and quit grinning when I told him if he continued I would land in Havana, Cuba and Castro would have him killed tomorrow. I probably could have taken his passport but the succesful results were the same.
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Old 1st Nov 2013, 10:46
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However, Easyjet could do everyone a big favour and very loudly announce that this guy will never fly with them again.
Smoking, drunk or disruptive pax: get their passports and keep them until landing.
give another shot to a drunk people.
All of which might well get you into as much trouble as the drunk. The first is probably not true and could be construed as a baseless threat, the second is probably not legal and the third is just insanely irresponsible.

You need to be absolutely punctilious about observing the law before taking action and I'd want legal advice from the company before trying the first two. The third would just cost you your job, I hope.

Just divert and have the police waiting.
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Old 1st Nov 2013, 19:40
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If the airline industry is serious about this issue, it will 1) require passengers to blow into a breathalyzer prior to boarding (takes 5 seconds) and 2) stop serving alcohol on the plane.

It the airline industry does not do these things, it is not serious about alcohol-related problems.
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