Alcohol fuels air rage

Yet another unruly member of the air travelling public has been brought to court and pled guilty.  Justice has been done, the people on the flight to Japan were only about 3 hours late to their destination and the man convicted of causing the inconvenience may yet be made to pay for the $10,000 worth of fuel that the plane had to dump to safely land here.

At the very end of the article about this passenger was a sentence that stated that almost all cases of air rage involve alcohol. 

May I just say “DUH!”?

Many years ago, I had the misfortune to be flying back from Denmark while seated next to a passenger who seemed intent on imbibing all the liquor on the plane. He had started drinking when he got on the plane in Germany, had taken a slight break during the few hours on the ground in Copenhagen, and then immediately resumed his drinking as soon as he heard sounds of movement in the galley.

Much to my surprise and chagrin, the attendants on the plane responded immediately to his incessant pushing of the flight attendant button. They brought him more and more liquor. I watched him slowly but surely melt into his seat.  His speech became slurred. He kept trying to bring his face up into mine as though he thought I could understand him if he yelled straight into my eyeballs.

Since I don’t drink because I simply don’t like the smell or flavor, having his breath blown incessantly into my face soon grew very old and uncomfortable.  I got up and asked the attendants if they didn’t think that maybe they should slow down the flow a bit since it was clearly making my flight very uncomfortable.  They informed me that as a passenger he was entitled to drink so long as he paid for the drinks and was of age to imbibe. I asked for my seat to be changed but was told no other was available.

It should come as no surprise to anyone that things rapidly went from bad to worse.  A little over an hour into a very long flight he started vomiting.  Occasionally he actually hit the bag. Sometimes he would attempt to make it to the bathroom. He wasn’t always successful.

So now he was annoying not just me but people for aisles around as he bolted to and from the bathroom. On the way back from each trip, he would stop by the galley and ask to be brought more drinks.

Long after this situation had reached the point of ludicrous, the senior attendant finally showed up at our row and informed him that he would not be served anymore liquor. Seats for three rows around spontaneously broke into applause.  All of which was fine except for one thing. I now had five or six hours left on a flight sitting next to a man who had vomited copiously over much of the seat and himself.  When they brought dinner around I was surprisingly surly about it.  After making a fuss, they finally moved me into the business section of the flight. 

Airlines fought against the ban on smoking because they said it would cut into their business and cause passengers to be tense and snarly. Well, their business is booming and most smokers make it safely from their point of departure to their destination without losing control. Alcohol has caused problems since it was first served on flights.  I say its time we ban it the same way we banned cigarettes.

Let’s get liquor off our planes and out of the air.  Anyone who can’t go without a drink for the length of time it takes to cross this country or cross an ocean needs to check in at a treatment program. Being around drunks while sober and confined to a very small space in an airplane is sheer torture.  And as recent air rage episodes have shown, it can also be downright dangerous.

We banned cigarettes from the air because of the threat they posed to our physical health. Let’s ban liquor from the air for the same reason.