In case you’ve missed it, there’s been a recent wave of Brits behaving badly in the news. Lately, British tourists have been accused of everything from filing false food poisoning claims to not-playing well with others.
And then there’s the drinking.
It seems like all of Europe’s major tourist hot spots are imposing stiffer fines for drunk and disorderly conduct. Croatian island Hvar recently announced it would fine British tourists up to $800 for public consumption of alcohol. In Corfu, Greece, officials are imposing strict curfews on loud music and late-night drinking in response to the large numbers of drunken British youth who descend upon the island.
The problem doesn’t just manifest itself while Brits are on foreign soil, either. Airlines and airports throughout the U.K. are also grappling with growing numbers of intoxicated passengers.
Last year, 387 people were arrested for drunken behavior on British flights or at U.K. airports, according to BBC’s Panorama (h/t The Telegraph.) The number is a 50 percent increase over the previous year.
What’s more, Britain’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) reported that “disruptive passenger incidents” in the UK increased 600 percent increase between 2012 and 2016. Many of these incidences involved alcohol.
It often falls upon already beleaguered air crews to deal with the fallout from the drunk and disruptive behavior.
According to the Telegraph, Panorama found that more than half of all crew members have “experienced or witnessed verbal, physical or sexual abuse on board a UK flight, while one in five said they had been physically abused.”
Ryanair is now calling on UK airports to do more to “prevent excessive alcohol consumption, in the wake of increased disruptive behavior from passengers traveling from British airports.”
“It’s completely unfair that airports can profit from the unlimited sale of alcohol to passengers and leave the airlines to deal with the safety consequences,” said Kenny Jacobs, the chief marketing officer of Ryanair.
“This is a particular problem during flight delays when airports apply no limit to the sale of alcohol in airside bars and restaurants. This is an issue which the airports must now address and we are calling for significant changes to prohibit the sale of alcohol at airports, particularly with early morning flights and when flights are delayed.”
Ryanair is calling for a ban on the sale of all alcohol in bars and restaurants before 10 a.m. Further, the airline is asking for the “mandatory use of boarding cards” for people purchasing alcoholic beverages in bars and restaurants and limiting the numbers of drinks purchased to two per boarding pass.
Currently, Jet2 is the only airline in the United Kingdom that doesn’t sell alcohol on its early morning flights.
Before it introduced that regulation last August, the airline had clocked more than 500 denied boardings due to disruptive behavior. It has also issued 50-lifetime bans to the worst of the offenders.
Ryanair has also taken a number of steps to mitigate disruptive behavior on its flights, including prohibiting customers from drinking from their own duty-free purchases on board.
Customers flying on the routes which draw the rowdiest behaviors, such as those to Alicante and Ibiza, cannot carry duty-free alcohol on board the plane at all. They must either check their duty-free alcohol or leave those purchases behind.
“As the largest airline in Europe, Ryanair’s number one priority is the safety of our customers, crew and aircraft and we operate strict guidelines for the carriage of customers who are disruptive or appear to be under the influence of alcohol,” said Jacobs.
“Given that all our flights are short-haul, very little alcohol is actually sold on board, so it’s incumbent on the airports to introduce these preventative measures to curb excessive drinking and the problems it creates, rather than allowing passengers to drink to excess before their flights.”