Air­line’s al­co­hol rules are a lit­tle hazy

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Travel & Indulgence - LISA ALLEN

FOR an air­line cel­e­brat­ing its 100 mil­lionth pas­sen­ger mile­stone this month, Jet­star still has some cus­tomer­care is­sues to re­solve.

Af­ter fork­ing out an ex­tra $199 each way for a busi­ness-class seat on re­cent flights be­tween Sydney and Denpasar, I was con­fused by the on-board ser­vice and duty-free al­co­hol reg­u­la­tions out of Bali.

To be fair, I couldn’t fault Jet­star on any­thing else. There was no air-locker rage be­tween pas­sen­gers with lots of cabin bags, the planes took off on time, lug­gage ar­rived safely, and the cap­tain I chat­ted with briefly be­fore the home­bound flight could not have been friend­lier.

But things went awry on the way over when I set­tled into my busi­ness-class seat. Af­ter the main course, a flight at­ten­dant in­vited me to en­joy a shot of Bai­leys over ice and placed the drink on my tray ta­ble.

With the speed of light, an­other flight at­ten­dant, who was work­ing on the other end of the food cart, whipped the drink away. Her rea­son­ing? She said I al­ready had half a glass of sauvi­gnon blanc be­fore me.

When I pointed out many of my fel­low busi­ness-class pas­sen­gers had two types of al­co­hol on their tray tables — or­der­ing beers and glasses of red wine with their main cour­ses — I was curtly told that the crew serv­ing those drinks were breach­ing re­spon­si­ble ser­vice of al­co­hol pro­vi­sions.

The flight at­ten­dant was wrong, and an air­line com­mu­ni­ca­tions ex­ec­u­tive has since apol­o­gised to me for the in­ci­dent.

But an air­line should get its act to­gether so that all crew thor­oughly know the rules — par­tic­u­larly in re­la­tion to al­co­hol ser­vice.

Jet­star ob­vi­ously takes the mat­ter of drink­ing very se­ri­ously. Sydney-bound pas­sen­gers on my flight had been ag­grieved to find they were banned from buy­ing al­co­hol at Denpasar air­port’s duty-free stores be­fore fly­ing home.

One can’t help but won­der whether this new rule is be­cause the air­line doesn’t want ex­tra fuel costs as­so­ci­ated with all those ad­di­tional (and heavy) bot­tles of grog or be­cause man­age­ment wor­ries pas­sen­gers will dip into their duty-free booze while in flight.

A Jet­star spokesper­son con­firmed the air­line’s tough stance by say­ing: ‘‘This de­ci­sion was based on a range of fac­tors in­clud­ing cus­tomer feed­back and to en­sure the com­fort and safety of cus­tomers and crew.

‘‘All car­ri­ers pro­hibit the drink­ing of cus­tomers’ per­sonal duty-free [bev­er­ages] on board. This is largely due to the com­bi­na­tion of al­ti­tude and al­co­hol [that] af­fects in­di­vid­u­als dif­fer­ently.’’

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