Noth­ing ru­ins your flight like a drunk­ard at 30,000ft

The Sunday Telegraph - - Features - Treat un­der­stand aggress incr tur fl th mean havin perso

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.

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