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UK Aviation Industry Forced to Adapt to Unruly Passengers

Experts contemplate how best to tackle the problem of furious flyers as the UK records a major upsurge in the number of alcohol-fueled passenger incidents.

According to the latest figures from the United Kingdom’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), incidents of disruptive, alcohol-fueled passenger behavior have more than quadrupled between 2013 and 2015.

Recent data released by the CAA records a significant jump in incidents from just 85 in 2013 to 386 only two years later. These figures come just two months after aviation minister Lord Ahmad confirmed that he would be analyzing the sale of alcohol in Britain’s airports.

While he has yet to announce the findings of his work, low-cost carrier Jet2 has decided to prohibit the sale of in-flight alcohol during certain times after an intoxicated passenger recently forced one of its planes to make an unscheduled diversion.

But speaking to the BBC, Phil Ward, the company’s managing director, explained that the problem of in-flight alcohol-related incidents goes well beyond what’s available on the drinks trolley.

The issue, he told the broadcaster, has much to do with passengers “pre-loading” at bars on the ground or purchasing alcohol in duty-free prior to boarding.

Taking a cohesive approach to alcohol-fueled incidents, his idea is to create a central database, a tool that would see disruptive and abusive passengers banned not just from a single airline, but from a whole host of carriers.

However, Ward admits that, “It’s not going to happen overnight.”

Cabin crew also bear the brunt of disruptive passenger behavior. “Dan Air”, the pseudonym of the writer who pens the blog Confessions of a Trolley Dolly, confirmed to the outlet that these incidents are indeed on the rise.

“People a lot of the time don’t actually realize they’re on board an aircraft. I think a lot of the time people think that they’re in a club or in a bar,” he said.

In a statement released in August, the CAA said that, “We are clear that this type of behavior is completely unacceptable and that is why we support the aviation industry’s efforts to address this issue.”

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