Alcohol and Airplanes: What’s the Over/Under?

In reading a WSJ piece about rising passenger-caused disruptions on commercial airplanes, my main reaction was that this is all about alcohol. While I hate to punish everyone for the sins of a few, how much longer can it be until a flight attendant or a passenger sues successfully because of damages caused by alcohol on airplanes, and the stuff is taken out of planes altogether?

My guess? No more than five years — mind you, I’ve been saying that for more than ten years now, so I’m sure I’m as early on this call as ever.


  1. Hard to see it, PK. The airlines make money, most passengers enjoy. If Gerard Finneran could not turn the tide what will?
    If you do not recall the antics of GF google it, priceless for those not on the flight.

  2. My mother was a flight attendant for American for 30 years. She saw it all. If she had only kept a diary and a discreet digital camera you have no idea how different the careers of some well known people might be today.
    I don’t think Alcohol is the problem as the flight attendants can cut people off at their discretion.
    The problem is there are some a**holes in the world (like the guy who purposely tried to kill me on my bike Sunday) and unless you remove them from the plane (or the earth) you will always have problems.

  3. Jeremy Hellman says:

    Any idea what the profit margin is on alcohol sales ? You’d think its pretty rich, so it you’d think it unlikely to get nixed.

  4. The last comment is very interesting. You see you guys in the US pay for alcohol on all domestic flights. In the UK, that only happens on CheesyJet or RyanAir type cheapo ones. So the price of alcohol does not bother people.
    Now if someone is drinking their duty-free quota, well then in that case, they will sober up quickly when the plane lands and the Police escorts them to their own cell at Her Majesty’s Pleasure..

  5. Just institute a limit… It seems a small amount of alcohol makes one more docile and sleepy. Both good things for flights.

  6. maybe if the airlines didn’t deprive the passengers of oxygen and humidity then then people could use experience to know their limit. instead they wind up dehydrated with a higher blood alcohol content and poorer judgment from less oxygen.
    to bad it would cost the airlines money to provide a healthy environment in which to travel