FAA cites unruly passengers in warning airports to monitor alcohol sales

FAA cites unruly passengers in warning airports to monitor alcohol sales
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The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is asking airports to increase their monitoring of alcohol sales after an investigation determined that “alcohol often contributes to ... unsafe behavior.”

“As the number of passengers traveling has increased, so has the number of unruly and unsafe behavior incidents on planes and in airports,” FAA Administrator Steve Dickson said in a letter to airport managers on Tuesday, provided to The Hill.

“Our investigations show that alcohol often contributes to this unsafe behavior,” he added.

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The number of unruly passengers on flights has increased in recent months as more people return to flying amid scaled-back COVID-19 restrictions.

The FAA revealed in July that it recorded almost 100 cases of disruptive airline passengers in one week. The agency at the time said 581 investigations have been established for unruly passenger incidents in 2021 so far.

For comparison, the agency only initiated 183 investigations in 2020 and 146 the year before.

Dickson asked airports to “work with their concessionaires to help avoid this.”

He said the agency has heard reports of “to go” alcoholic drinks being consumed by passengers before or during flights, despite the fact that the FAA does not allow alcohol on planes unless it is served by the airline.

“Even though FAA regulations specifically prohibit the consumption of alcohol aboard an aircraft that is not served by the airline, we have received reports that some airport concessionaires have offered alcohol ‘to go,’ and passengers believe they can carry that alcohol onto their flights or they become inebriated during the boarding process,” Dickson wrote.

He asked airports to “bring awareness to this prohibition” of passengers bringing open alcoholic beverages on their flights “through signage, public service announcements, and concessionaire education.”

The letter from Dickson comes after a video surfaced earlier this week of a Frontier Airlines passenger being taped to his seat after allegedly groping flight attendants.

The Miami-Dade Police Department said the passenger, identified as Maxwell Berry of Ohio, was intoxicated.