Nothing ruins your flight like a drunkard at 30,000ft
Ihad a nightmare flight recently, when three people were sick (three!) and not one got it in the bag. The only thing as bad, or worse, would be to be stuck on a plane with a drunk making trouble.
And that has, apparently, been getting more likely; the Civil Aviation Authority counted the number of flights disrupted or endangered by abusive and violently inebriated people last year at 417 – double what it was five years ago.
As a boozy nation whose airports are full of beer-swillers from 6am, it’s no surprise that the British authorities are taking these figures seriously.
The Department for Transport has unveiled a new strategy document recommending a number of measures for cracking down on those who get drunk and disorderly in the air.
The most draconian seems to be on-the-spot fines; already the courts can slap sozzled fliers with a £5,000 fine and up to two years in prison.
I have always despised drinkfuelled ruckus-makers, but I can see why some people use a flight as an excuse to get plastered. It is a peculiar form of limbo, one of the increasingly rare passages of “dead time”, and one does rather feel one should celebrate – wherever one is bound.
For this reason, I like a glass of something or other on board (if the time of day is right), and plenty of sweet treats.
But if the urge to make merry is understandable, then the desire to get aggressively trolleyed points to a sad facet of modern life: with our brains increasingly overloaded, we instead turn to physical pleasures for escapism – a pursuit that, as the drunk fliers can attest, can go badly wrong pretty quickly.
Is there no way back to a world in which letting loose meant reading a great novel or having a fantastic chat with the person next to you? I fear not.