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FAA Seeks to Ban ‘to go’ Alcohol at U.S. Airports

Violence, disruptive behavior, assaults and threats by passengers toward other aviation travelers and crew members have significantly increased in recent years, and a high percentage of incidents have been alcohol related.  The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is proposing a way to help curb this pattern of unruly passenger activity by encouraging businesses at airports to stop selling ‘to go’ alcohol.

FAA highest priority is passenger and staff safety.  FAA Administrator Steve Dickson has written to airport leaders across America requesting that airport concessionaires, restaurants, and bars stop selling alcoholic drinks that can be taken onboard by passengers in an effort to decrease access, limit consumption, and avoid inebriation.  Dickson adds that airports can raise awareness about prohibiting open alcoholic drinks carried onto flights through announcements and signage.  

Dickson has approved hefty fines for unruly travelers who assault, threaten or intimidate crew members.  Earlier this year, a $50,000 fine was imposed upon a passenger who attacked a flight attendant, and in May, the FAA proposed $65,000 in fines against five disruptive passengers.  

Southwest Airlines and American Airlines have placed a temporary ban on inflight alcohol service to reduce the potential for rowdy behavior and unexpected incidents.  Other airline authorities are eager to address the rise in violence and are also asking airport police to make more arrests of individuals who are unruly or violent in transit.