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Alcohol in the Cabin

Date: May 28, 2021

As we discuss the potential rise in violence on our aircraft, we know all too well the role that alcohol can deleteriously contribute to these situations. We are required to follow United’s policy of selling or providing boarded alcohol and part of that policy is a zero-tolerance approach to passengers who bring their own supply or may arrive intoxicated.

As a reminder, FAR 121.575, which deals with alcohol-related issues, remains in full force and effect.  To paraphrase, FAR 121.575 states, in part, that passengers may drink only alcoholic beverages served to them by working Flight Attendants, Flight Attendants may not continue to serve alcohol to passengers who appear to be intoxicated, and passengers who appear to be intoxicated may not be permitted to board an airplane.

As Safety Professionals, we know there is nothing “cute” about having to deal with people who are under the influence, even only moderately. Alcohol adds stress to our work environment and requires us to manage these situations which diverts our time away from providing other passengers the excellent customer service management is making a big deal about lately.

The best solution, in our view given the current state of the industry, is to simply eliminate alcohol altogether on a temporary basis until the overall situation in the industry can be normalized.  Of course, unless that view is adopted, our next best strategy is to follow the FARs and not allow a preventable situation from escalating.

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