48% fliers surveyed demand a ban on serving liquor onboard; 89% want new safeguards against risk of inebriated passengers
- ● 50% respondents surveyed say all passengers should be required to mandatorily give an undertaking about not boarding the flight in an inebriated state
- ● 32% say all passengers should mandatorily also give an undertaking about not consuming personal liquor on board the flights
- ● 40% want that boarding agents/ staff should be authorized to do a breath analyzer test and “reject boarding based on pre-defined parameters”
January 7, 2023, New Delhi: Multiple incidents with one in late November, of intoxicated men urinating on fellow passengers on board an international flight from India has once again put spotlight on unruly behavior of some fliers putting a question mark on the safety of other passengers on board the flight. More importantly, it has once again raised the debate on whether liquor should be served on board international flights? Also, what safeguards should be put in place to prevent inebriated passengers from boarding flights and consuming liquor on board. These are some of the issues citizens of India have been discussing on LocalCircles as the media presents details of the latest incident where Air India failed to act on the complaint of a 70-year-old lady flying in business class from New York City to Delhi and urinated upon by an intoxicated fellow passenger.
Basis feedback from citizens on the way forward, LocalCircles decided to conduct a national survey which received over 20,000 responses from international fliers located in over 274 districts of India. 59% of the respondents were men while 42% were women. 48% respondents were from tier 1, 33% from tier 2 and 19% respondents were from tier 3, 4 and rural districts.
48% fliers surveyed demand a ban on serving liquor on international flights
The first survey question focused on understanding whether alcohol should be served in international flights from and to India. It asked respondents, “Should the Government should ban serving of alcohol in all flights from/to India”. Almost 10,000 fliers responded to this query with 48% stating “yes” and a slightly lower 42% stating “No” and 10% refraining from giving a decisive response. The divide in the opinion seems clear as many among the fliers who may well have witnessed unruly behavior on board by drunk fellow passengers may well not want to give up the facility of enjoying a free drink or two in the upper class seats or the facility to buy a drink in the economy class. “This behavior is not restricted to any specific class of passengers as both economy class and business class passengers have been reported to have indulged in such anti-social acts,” according to an aviation sector report which in part blames the privileges provided in the frequent flyer lounges and some airlines advertising champagne bars, top-shelf spirits, and bespoke cocktails.
89% support Government putting in place safeguards as the cases of drunken misbehavior onboard flights rise
LocalCircles next sought to know “Should safeguards be put in place to ensure passengers do not get into inebriated state in international flights?” Of the 10,874 respondents to this query, an overwhelming 89% indicated support for having the Government put in place safeguards as the cases of drunken misbehavior onboard flights particularly long distance appears to be on the rise. Only 11% of the respondents to this query indicated that they were not in favour of such a step.
1 out of 2 of the respondents indicated that “all passengers should mandatorily give an undertaking about not boarding the flight in an inebriated state”
Given the rise in unruly behavior, particularly of intoxicated fellow passengers, LocalCircles sought fliers’ views on “What all safeguards should be put in place to ensure passengers do not get into inebriated state in international flights?” Nearly 10,000, responded to this query, some choosing more than one of the options in the survey. One out of 2 of the respondents indicated that “all passengers should mandatorily give an undertaking about not boarding the flight in an inebriated state”; 40% were in favour of “boarding agents/ staff being authorized to do a breathalyzer test and reject boarding based on pre-defined parameters”; 32% indicated that “all passengers should mandatorily give an undertaking about not consuming personal liquor on board the flights”; and 21% favoured “other steps than the ones listed above should be taken”.
In summary, given that the majority of fliers surveyed want mandatory undertaking from all passengers on not boarding a flight in inebriated state and boarding gate staff being authorized to reject boarding on the basis of a breathalyzer test result, the Government and the civil aviation authorities should look into this aspect more seriously. This is not the first time that the Government has been urged to look into this aspect of airline safety and also the comfort of passengers, all of whom pay for the privilege of a comfortable journey, and not just who pay to enjoy a drink or more when flying miles above the ground. This is reinforced by the fact that 48% of fliers surveyed are not in favour of alcohol being served onboard and 89% favour safeguards being put in place by the government to prevent violence and the suffering the hardship of a fellow passenger vomiting, urinating or creating nuisance for all. An apology or having to divert a flight cannot be an answer to this continuing or in fact, escalating problem in the aviation industry as the IATA report states. While the latest offender has been arrested from Bangalore, nothing really can make up for the harassment the senior citizen lady faced recently on the Air India flight. Atleast a change in the ground rules and their effective enforcement can help in minimizing such incidents in the future and enable a systemic change.
LocalCircles will share the findings of this survey with key stakeholders in the Government for consideration and action.
The survey received over 20,000 responses from international fliers located in over 274 districts of India. 59% of the respondents were men while 42% were women. 48% respondents were from tier 1, 33% from tier 2 and 19% respondents were from tier 3, 4 and rural districts. The survey was conducted via LocalCircles platform and all participants are validated citizens who had to be registered with LocalCircles to participate in this survey.