Air India is to ban passengers from drinking their own alcohol during international flights that they have bought at airport Duty Free stores in a bid to reduce disruptive behaviour following a spate of unruly passenger incidents.
The drinking ban is part of a new alcohol policy that has been rushed in following the now-infamous ‘pee-gate’ incident in which a drunken Business Class passenger urinated over an elderly passenger.
Air India’s cabin crew have been advised to be on the lookout for passengers attempting to drink their own alcohol that they’ve brought onboard. Instead, passengers should only be allowed to drink alcohol served to them by cabin crew.
The idea is that cabin crew will be able to monitor how much each passenger has drunk so that they can cut them off before a passenger becomes inebriated to the point that they start causing trouble.
The policy, which came into effect on January 19, advises flight attendants that alcohol should be served in a “reasonable and safe manner”.
“This includes tactfully refusing to (further) serve a guest alcohol,” the memo explains. Cabin crew have been advised not to offer “one last drink” and instead, assertively but politely restrict alcohol service if a passenger looks like they’ve already too much.
Not that cabin crew should be making “value judgements” about passengers or calling them “drunks”.
“Don’t raise your voice. If they raise theirs, lower yours… don’t put off refusal, act while the guest can still be reasoned with,” the memo continues while explaining that cabin crew should feel “empowered” to cut off alcohol service if they fear the passenger could present a hazard to the aircraft, crew or other passengers.
Last week, the Tata-owned airline was hit with a roughly $37,000 fine for its handling of the pee-gate incident. India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) also suspended the flying licence of the pilot in command at the time the incident took place and slapped Air India’s director of in-flight services with a fine of 300,000 rupees.
Air India has called the decision to suspend the pilot as unduly harsh and is calling on the authorities to reinstate his licence.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.