Airline’s alcohol rules are a little hazy
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.’’