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FA withholding, measuring or commenting on in air alcoholic drinks

FA withholding, measuring or commenting on in air alcoholic drinks

Old Dec 25, 18, 12:12 pm
  #1  
PHL
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FA says she only gives one drink per hour

On a recent midcon route (on an E190) I was seated in row 5 (MCE). When the FA came through with the cart about 45 minutes into the flight, I asked for a double Titos on the rocks with a lemon or lime. They rarely have any fruit on the coach cart, and usually can get some from the F galley, but they also weren't catered with it.

She asked me "you want 2 Titos?" and I said "yes, please". Mind you, I hadn't had a drink in days so there weren't any signs of intoxication. She gave me the drink and that was that.

I nursed it while watching some content on my tablet. About 45 minutes later, I got up to use the rear lav and took my empty cup back to ask for a refill. I initially didn't see her(or anyone) in the rear galley because she was sitting in the last row of coach playing a game on her phone. She did look up and see me and told me that someone was in the lav, which I already saw by the latch on the door in the "do not enter" position. I asked for another double and she pointed out that it's a short flight (blocked 2.5 hours) and then said "I don't know you", so she would only give me a single for the remainder of the flight. I pointed out to her that I was not driving upon arrival and she reiterated that she didn't know me.

I didn't push the issue because that would likely lead to me getting nothing. I wondered if she enforces her own limits on F passengers, if she ever works that cabin.

I know that the FA has their own discretion on when and to whom to serve alcohol, though that's typically based on the passenger's demeanor. I hadn't been drinking prior to the flight nor was I doing anything to call attention to myself with any bad behavior. She never mentioned the limit was due to me being in MCE. She simply said that she usually serves only one drink per hour and since I had a double already, she wasn't initially going to give me another until she "let" me have a single.

Not the end of the world, but seems that I got a flight with an overly conservative FA when it came to drink service. Or maybe she was annoyed to be interrupted from her game.

Last edited by JDiver; Jul 30, 19 at 10:04 pm Reason: Restore original post title
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Old Dec 25, 18, 12:25 pm
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3 drinks in 45 minutes seems like a lot to many of us.

Perhaps the FA was just being cautious as she does not know your alcohol tolerance and because of some of the recent in flight issues on other flights.
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Old Dec 25, 18, 12:26 pm
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In this case she made up the rules. However, she could be held accountable say if you got behind the wheel after flight and an accident occurred. FA have to make judgement calls and unlike police they have no equipment to aid in that decision and therefore must use their judgment.
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Old Dec 25, 18, 12:40 pm
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Originally Posted by PHL View Post
On a recent midcon route (on an E190) I was seated in row 5 (MCE). When the FA came through with the cart about 45 minutes into the flight, I asked for a double Titos on the rocks with a lemon or lime. They rarely have any fruit on the coach cart, and usually can get some from the F galley, but they also weren't catered with it.

She asked me "you want 2 Titos?" and I said "yes, please". Mind you, I hadn't had a drink in days so there weren't any signs of intoxication. She gave me the drink and that was that.

I nursed it while watching some content on my tablet. About 45 minutes later, I got up to use the rear lav and took my empty cup back to ask for a refill. I initially didn't see her(or anyone) in the rear galley because she was sitting in the last row of coach playing a game on her phone. She did look up and see me and told me that someone was in the lav, which I already saw by the latch on the door in the "do not enter" position. I asked for another double and she pointed out that it's a short flight (blocked 2.5 hours) and then said "I don't know you", so she would only give me a single for the remainder of the flight. I pointed out to her that I was not driving upon arrival and she reiterated that she didn't know me.

I didn't push the issue because that would likely lead to me getting nothing. I wondered if she enforces her own limits on F passengers, if she ever works that cabin.

I know that the FA has their own discretion on when and to whom to serve alcohol, though that's typically based on the passenger's demeanor. I hadn't been drinking prior to the flight nor was I doing anything to call attention to myself with any bad behavior. She never mentioned the limit was due to me being in MCE. She simply said that she usually serves only one drink per hour and since I had a double already, she wasn't initially going to give me another until she "let" me have a single.

Not the end of the world, but seems that I got a flight with an overly conservative FA when it came to drink service. Or maybe she was annoyed to be interrupted from her game.
A few years ago, around the time of the merger, I had a relatively young (25ish) male FA on an LUS A321 CLT-SAN give me the "one drink an hour" line. I had initially ordered a scotch with the warm nuts and then requested red wine just before meal trays were delivered. I think I had maybe one drink in the lounge before that and am fairly certain I didn't appear intoxicated.

It was such an odd occurrence that I remember it clearly. I had never heard this rule mentioned before that flight, and I've never heard it since.

The look on my face after he mentioned it must have said it all, because he immediately began defending himself, saying that all FAs learn the one drink an hour rule, and he was just making the comment because he had been taught that was the policy. My seatmate, who was already drinking red wine, looked pretty stunned by his remarks also and probably wondered if she'd be the next to be denied.

I think he immediately realized how ridiculous he was being. I simply told him, "I think I'll be just fine," which he seemed to accept, because that was that. He brought my wine, and there was no more nonsense about one drink an hour. Pretty sure I fell asleep shortly after dinner anyway (a potential bonus to the FA for serving that extra drink).

The "I don't know you" line mentioned by the OP is pretty over-the-top. I'd be really annoyed, more by the comment than the lack of alcohol. At those times when you just want to kick back with a few drinks, this is the type of FA that can really ruin your day.
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Old Dec 25, 18, 1:05 pm
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There are no rules other than both AA and the FA personally are on the hook for significant fines if a passenger is served who "appears" to be under the influence. I stress "appears" because this is not a comment on OP's particular state of sobriety.

If one had 1-2 drinks before the flight and then 4 more in a short period (not suggesting that OP did, simply that it is not uncommon), we are talking about someone with 6 drinks into them on a <3 hour flight. The # of drinks per hour thing may just be a polite way of saying "no" and not judging other people, but it is also a safe way to operate.

Remember that nobody cares how many drinks you have until something happens. Either onboard or afterwards. Then the first look by the investigation is how much a passenger was served.
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Old Dec 25, 18, 1:33 pm
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Originally Posted by metallo View Post
The look on my face after he mentioned it must have said it all, because he immediately began defending himself, saying that all FAs learn the one drink an hour rule, and he was just making the comment because he had been taught that was the policy.
Sounds to me like this (and the OP's) FA are misinterpreting part of their training as an official "policy" or "rule." They likely learn that a typical liver can metabolize the equivalent of roughly one drink per hour (which is widely taught in other contexts), and passengers exceeding this have a higher risk of becoming intoxicated. But usually this is meant to be a helpful benchmark (i.e. if someone is having 3 per hour, keep an eye out for signs of intoxication) rather than any sort of hard cutoff.
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Old Dec 25, 18, 2:16 pm
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Originally Posted by jagoffee View Post
3 drinks in 45 minutes seems like a lot to many of us.
the issue is not the # of drinks per hour but rather making up rules. If the FA had said "I can't serve you yet because you appear intoxicated" that would be fine (it's in the CFRs).

FAs need to stop making up rules
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Old Dec 25, 18, 2:47 pm
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Looking at this one from the attendant's POV for a moment. I'd certainly be wary to say the least, when a PAX orders a double shot of straight spirits, then comes down back to the galley with a cup asking for another hit.

That would set off alarm bells, and I can understand the response.
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Old Dec 25, 18, 2:57 pm
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FA says she only gives one drink per hour

I pee more than that
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Old Dec 25, 18, 3:02 pm
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I agree with platbrownguy, the FA's need to stop making up rules. If the fa has an issue with giving a pax another drink they should just say so. In my experience it usually more about laziness not intoxication.
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Old Dec 25, 18, 3:09 pm
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Originally Posted by newyorkgeorge View Post
she could be held accountable say if you got behind the wheel after flight and an accident occurred
How does that work? Are FA's responsible for keeping everyone below the legal DUI limit?

Last edited by CloudGazer; Dec 25, 18 at 3:16 pm
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Old Dec 25, 18, 3:12 pm
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Originally Posted by CloudGazer View Post
How does that work? Are FA's respinsiresfor keeping everyone below the legal DUI limit?
No, but like most people who serve alcohol as part of their job (bartenders, waiters, etc), they're legally barred from serving to customers who appear intoxicated.
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Old Dec 25, 18, 3:23 pm
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Originally Posted by Offshore171 View Post
Looking at this one from the attendant's POV for a moment. I'd certainly be wary to say the least, when a PAX orders a double shot of straight spirits, then comes down back to the galley with a cup asking for another hit.

That would set off alarm bells, and I can understand the response.
"Another hit"? It's vodka, not crack cocaine.
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Old Dec 25, 18, 3:27 pm
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Originally Posted by CloudGazer View Post
How does that work? Are FA's respinsiresfor keeping everyone below the legal DUI limit?
No, itís more like it there was an accident and the pax killed/hurt someone else, a good lawyer would look at the paxís alcohol intake and how they were served to potentially hold the airline liable. Airline could claim they didnít know about any pre-departure drinks (if those existed), but if an FA served four drinks in 3 hours (or more if all were doubles), lawyer could argue FA overserved, which people with liquor licenses arenít supposed to do.

Thaf said, Iíve seen FAs invoke that rule before (even when pax was clearly fine and it was a long haul flight). Iíve also had an FA in F from SEA to DEN serve me and my single-serving friend enough that we were both completely ish-faced on arrival. (For the record, I donít even have a driverís license b/c NYC, baby! ó but itís not like FA knew that. I do thank her for her hospitality.)

in general, Iím not a fan of FAs having arbitrary drinking rules, especially if pax arenít altered ó but I also get why they might have them.

I think 3 drinks for a flight of this length seems acceptable. That said, I wouldnít be surprised if fare class played a role.
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Old Dec 25, 18, 3:36 pm
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Originally Posted by Gig103 View Post
"Another hit"? It's vodka, not crack cocaine.
It's a very common colloquialism.

If a drinker at a bar says "hit me" to the bartender while pointing at their empty glass, it means they want another.

Just for another perspective, I worked behind the bar for a few years in my student days. One thing you learn quickly is to spot the difference between people drinking for the taste or in a responsible social context, versus all-out "fuelling" - which is drinking to get heavily drunk in as short a time as possible.

The strong indicators of fuelling behaviour are ordering double shots of straight spirits, and it's nearly always vodka, tequila or rum. And quite reliably, this guy is the patron who causes an incident.

Unfortunately for the OP, their drinking pattern on this occasion fits this style and probably made the FA wary. Now I'm sure that the OP is one of the 4 out of 5 who are fine, but as an FA on a plane are you going to take that chance? There are no bouncers or police on the plane. If you as the server of the alcohol have contributed to an "incident" you have to deal with it, and any possible legal ramifications.

Many jurisdictions around the world have "Responsible service of alcohol" laws. The names of these laws vary from place to place, but essentially they place some legal responsibility and consequences on the person serving the alcohol.

Last edited by Offshore171; Dec 25, 18 at 4:02 pm
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