Senator wants two-drink limit on planes
July 25, 2001 2:50 PM   Subscribe

Senator wants two-drink limit on planes Air lines and flight attendants opposed even if it might slow down air rage. I guess that, like sporting events and the movies, this is a great was to pull in big bucks. If thiws bill passes in congress, Iwill never fly again!
posted by Postroad (23 comments total)
Doesn't alcohol help avoid air rage? I don't fly much but people I know who fly really long haul flights tell me alcohol is the only way not to go crazy. BTW "this is a great was to pull in big bucks?
posted by Zootoon at 3:18 PM on July 25, 2001

Hell, my vote is for a two-drink minimum!

But seriously folks, the crew have authority to refuse service. I guess the threat of a 10,000 foot altitude bum's rush might work ;)
posted by Kafkaesque at 3:22 PM on July 25, 2001

I travel alot for business.

Oh and yeah -- Read and Learn

Ms. Feinstein, God bless her and her efforts. However, I do believe she is missing the point. Limiting drinks on an airplane is more political white noise. Yeah, it makes a headline, but it does not mean jack shit. It is worthless.

I have thought about this alot. The missing link here is not so much what is served on the airplane, but what is served before boarding. Most drunkards (and that would include yours truly) are sauced before the walking down the gangway. it is not about what is served on in flight - it is about what is served pre-flight!

My take on the whole issue - When the average person goes to the airport, they are considered a criminal from the point they enter the airport. "Hey Terrorst, move your car! Remove your belt! etc etc" Then they are corralled into inhumane stockades called "gates", where they are humiliated again by ticket agents. Then they wait for the plane that has not arrived.. It is a whole screwed up system that is based on real terrorist dangers thhat has evolved into a strange "I buy a ticket therefore I am a suspect" mentality. This, on a very basic level, pisses people off. It is high time that the airport authorities and the airlines start accepting some of the blame for this "Air Rage" phenomenon. Everyday people, who are good, upstanding people in every other aspect of their lives, get pissed off because they get treated like some common criminal when they choose to fly to another destination.

Ok, maybe I am not the bightest bulb in the pack., but I feel that I live a decent, moral life (with one of the exceptions when I get all surly on MF).. I have not been arrested, or charged, called infor questioning etc etc etc. In short, I simply live and am honest with my day-to-day dealings. I am not a criminal by any means and I resent the forces that are categorizing people like me into the "guilty before proven innocent" mindset.

Bottom line: Feinsteiin ought to get her head out of her ass and really examine the issues as opposed to pulling some political grandsstand.

Oh and yes, i don't buy into all that crap. Yes, i do feel bad for the persons that have been affected. Bad things were done to people whos crime was showing up to work. At the same time, I think they are missing the point. The rage begins long before the gate.

double "oh and yes" - I support drink limits onboard or can alcohol from flights alogether.
posted by sardines at 3:47 PM on July 25, 2001

I would love to see this happen. I have been on too many flights where flight attendants have had to cut passengers off, liquor wise, and it isn't pretty. Flight attendants are on the plane for safety, and the service is a bonus - they are not waitresses. Does anybody really need a drink on a plane? What you really need a drink on is a bus ride somewhere, but busses are alcohol free.

What is is about flying that connects to boozing?

And you can be all 'well it isn't my fault' about it, but the fact is, if a plane has to put down somewhere to let off a drunk, you can kiss a day or two of your vacation away for it - miss your connecting flight, strand people at the airport for hours, waiting for you, make your life a living hell.

Alcohol doesn't inhibit rage, it bolsters it up. And when people explode during a flight, it endangers the lives of everyone on board - like that guy in Seattle a few years ago who tried to open a door of the plane in flight, because he was mad at the airline.
posted by kristin at 4:05 PM on July 25, 2001

I agree with sardines about the inhuman nature of airports-- it would go a long way to curing skyrage if people were not treated like shit from the moment they step into the airport.

There's a headline: "people treated badly get mad."
posted by christina at 4:06 PM on July 25, 2001

The problem is that a lot of frequent travelers use the alcohol as a way to relax and ignore the fact that they are crated up in a flying tin can for 10 hours. I personally think they should serve marijuana brownies instead, but since that's not likely to happen...

The few extreme cases might (might, not likely though) decrease with a 2 drink max, but they will be replaced with many many less extreme, less vocal, and more coherent angry passengers, just as likely to cause serious damage or death to the other passengers.
posted by Nothing at 4:23 PM on July 25, 2001

Why flying pisses me off:

1. Snotty attendants.
Lately, I haven't had this problem but a couple years ago it seemed that every flight I got on I had to deal with a snotty flight attendant. I had one woman roll her eyes at me when I asked if they had any Tylenol. I really wanted to slap her.

2. Not enough room.
I just got off a flight on American Airlines yesterday. They've increased the leg-room available to all and it makes a *huge* difference. Now, if they could just give an inch or two in the shoulders and I think a lot of broad-shouldered men would be grateful (and out of my space).

3. Food.
Airlines should never serve eggs or any egg product. They should never serve fish or anything like it. My favorite airline meals are the brown-bag stuff where you have a sandwich, something chocolatey and a piece of fruit.

4. Noise.
The scream of the engines will drive you batty after awhile.

5. Paying for headphones.
They used to not do this and I'm sure some airlines don't. And it used to be that you could just plug in your own headphones but now they've created their own jack. If there's a movie or something -- don't make people pay to see it.

So, I really don't think it's the alcohol thing. I mean, it could be but really, put some guy in a tiny little seat, in a noisy aircraft, charge him for everything, give him something that he'd never want to eat, serve him a few drinks and then roll your eyes at him. I don't think it'll go over well at all.
posted by amanda at 4:35 PM on July 25, 2001

Actually kristin, flight attendants are there to alleviate people's fear of flying. Or so the thought went when nurses were hired as the first flight attendants. Nurses equate with comfort, I guess.

sardines, the same goes for the numerous precautions airlines take to prevent terrorism. People will be more at ease 30,000 feet up if they witness some semblance of security. Do you freak out when they ask you if someone's given you something to carry on board? I'd guess not, since you haven't and won't do anything wrong. My biggest problem is not the questions, since I'm not a criminal or insane, it's having to squish in between to large, smelly folks who seem to think they own both armrests.
posted by crustbuster at 4:40 PM on July 25, 2001

This is a great idea, although I'd smack it down to 0 drinks, personally. The problems that alcohol creates are obvious.

One of the problems, however, is that air hostesses earn commission on the drinks they sell. This means that, effectively, the hostesses have an incentive to ply the passengers with drink.. and while they'd rather not be on the receiving end of air rage, they don't want to lose some $$ from their paycheck either.

I don't really accept that alcohol helps people 'suffer' plane journies. Alcohol simply reduces your effect to experience the outside world.. it doesn't solve any perceived problem. As far as I'm concerned, being in a plane is far less scary than being in a friend's car whizzing down the highway at 80. At least I know that if the plane goes down, I've gotta lotta people on the same ride! Heck, the scariest thing is the threat of deep-vein thrombosis.
posted by wackybrit at 4:40 PM on July 25, 2001

Oh, and in a program I watched 2 days ago, they said that most of the people who attacked stewards and other cabin staff were generally drunk before they boarded the plane. A 2 drink minimum once you're on the plane doesn't stop you being almost drunk before you get on.
posted by wackybrit at 4:43 PM on July 25, 2001

I don't really accept that alcohol helps people 'suffer' plane journies. Alcohol simply reduces your effect to experience the outside world.. it doesn't solve any perceived problem.

But the perception is the problem.When you are drunk, you are still stuck with 200 other people in a fragile tin can at 30,000 feet, supported by principles of physics you forgot long ago and kept alive by technology you do not understand, but you don't care. Problem solved.
posted by kindall at 4:52 PM on July 25, 2001

I think Amanda's post is really the root of the problem. People who under every circumstance want to be treated like little princes or princesses who will fly into a hissy fit when service on a transport going somewhere near the speed of sound isn't up to some gourmet standard.

I don't see why alcohol should even be allowed on every flight. I certainly don't have a problem with the fine brew of name-any-beer not to mention other mood altering substances, but I'm also perceptive enough to see that there's a significant number of people that can't handle it. I don't want to be trapped in a flying tin can with Amanda-types who can't handle an eye-rolling from some service-level employee while sober.

Hopefully, the alcohol issue will be dealt with like tobacco was and there will be a speciality airline for alkies.

As for the self-medicating "alcohol helps me fly" types, how about laying off the sauce, admitting you're scared of flying and getting a prescription for anti-anxiety medication.
posted by skallas at 5:21 PM on July 25, 2001

Spell check!!!!!!
posted by themikeb at 5:35 PM on July 25, 2001

"When you are drunk, you are still stuck with 200 other people in a fragile tin can at 30,000 feet, supported by principles of physics you forgot long ago and kept alive by technology you do not understand, but you don't care."

heh. sounds like a party i'd go to.
posted by jcterminal at 6:18 PM on July 25, 2001

Long cross-continental flight, just fill her back up in the lavatory. Worried about it setting off the metal detector? Tupperware. No excuses drinkers, we're getting three hundred bones in a few weeks. Invest it!
posted by crasspastor at 6:46 PM on July 25, 2001

Or if you "feel her back up" while she's in the lavatory, especially if she works for the airline, you've had too much and are probably gonna have to buy a new flask. Please drink responsibly.
posted by crasspastor at 6:51 PM on July 25, 2001

Not enough room.

Bingo. I'm a pretty sanguine and level-headed person, but I'm also 6'2". When I get on a plane and my knees are jammed into the back of the seat in front of me, I get a little irritable. Then I invariably take out my laptop just before the guy in front of me reclines his seat by about 45 degrees. So I recline mine and reinflict the pain on the person behind me.

What ends up happening is that I look like a gansta driving a tiny souped-up Honda.

Oh and then, because there really isn't much of an option for passengers, my seat gets suddenly reclined another 20 degrees by the guy in the row behind me getting up from his seat.

If we had just a fucking wee bit more space, I think air rage would drop dramatically. It's not as if those things alone are going to make me go postal, but you can bet that other tall people who are prone to that sort of behavior, maybe mixed with some bad events during the day could make for a scene.

And alcohol? Hell two or three drinks make me relax. The problem, as some have said, are the people who are beligerant drunks.
posted by fooljay at 7:10 PM on July 25, 2001

For nearly three years I worked as a consultant and spent every week flying to and from my client sites and I have to concur it's the drinking before the flight that causes the most problems I've witnessed, which is often happens when the plane is delayed. And when the plane is delayed, passengers get pissed off. And when passengers don't know why the plane is delayed, passengers get even more pissed off.

Air rage isn't a black and white issue, and it can't be solved by simply banning alcohol on flights. Perhaps we should ban alcohol in the airports altogether, so people can't drink before they get on the plane as well? But what about the liquor stores near the airport, close those too? And the bars? Where does it end?

I think sardines touches on an important aspect of air travel these days: it's dehumanizing, and when people get treated like animals, they start to act like them as well.

If Ms. Feinstein really wanted to make a difference, she'd encourage the airlines to find a way to make air travel more pleasant. American's increased leg room is a start (it does really make a difference), how about more things like it? Amanda makes excellent suggestions regarding movies and food, I'd add increased communication to her list. I've never seen an angrier mob than business travelers on a Friday afternoon who have no idea why their flight home is delayed. That's where the air rage starts.
posted by megnut at 7:31 PM on July 25, 2001

While I don't dispute the airline industry's tendency to treat people like sardines, I still don't think it excuses a lot of these "air rage" incidents as passengers tend to act like spoiled brats at times because things aren't going "their way".
posted by owillis at 8:22 PM on July 25, 2001

The only way to eliminate Air Rage is to weld all seats in the upright position. Nobody should ever be allowed to recline, and they certainly shouldn't be allowed to recline during the freaking meal! Gaaahhhh!

Sorry. Tall Guy Rage, I guess.
posted by aramaic at 9:16 PM on July 25, 2001

Oliver, no one said that these idiots are excused. It's just that the airlines don't seem to realize that they created much of the problem in the first place. The Government seems to be more than happy just to pass another law.

That's the problem with legislators. They don't think they're doing their jobs unless they pass more laws. Really, before we pass more laws, shouldn't we clean the books and get some of these terrible laws off of our books and fix some that are horribly broken?

Sometimes I think that the government won't be happy until we all just sit in our homes, pay taxes and throw the rest of the money out the windows for corporate accountants to sweep up and collect. Anything other activity is "dangerous", "immoral" or "undesireable"...
posted by fooljay at 9:51 PM on July 25, 2001

OWillis - yes, you are right about the passenger temper tantrum. However, there is a breaking point that one gets to. After hours of the poking and prodding, a person just has enough. There is a limit as to what the average "joe passenger" will put up with.

I don't think that the *percentage* of Air Rage incidents has increased all that much. It is just that with the aggregate numbers of people flying, there are simply more incidents and it is reported more. What I do find alarming is the lengths that people will go to when acting out in their Air Rage state - throwing bottles, assulting flight attendants, pooping on food carts, etc. Here we are back to the issues of society being more extreme in general

yes, all of those things have happened, and more
and, I can safely say that I have not pooped on a food cart as of the date of this writing.

This is not to say that getting all drunk and stupid is an acceptable excuse. No. That is just as plain wrong on a Friday night in your local neighborhood bar as it is in an airport. Bad behavior is never acceptable.

This is an issue that has yet to find a home. From my viewpoint, all I can see is the media, public, airlines etc etc blah blah blah focusing in on this simple quick-fix of banning alcohol. It ain't gonna work. Until the air travel organizations admit to complicity in this "Skyrage" issue, no real headway will be acheived. In the meantime, expect that someone just may poop on the food cart.


For the rest of us, a few simple keywords: Amtrak, Trailways, Greyhound, (insert your address here) and relish a trip to the kitchen...... I have had it with air travel. It is no longer a luxury, it is now simply a chore.
posted by sardines at 4:53 AM on July 26, 2001

As always, New York Press says it best: To Sen. Feinstein I can only say: Try flying coach around the country the way I recently did, bitch. Then tell me again it’s the cheap white wine that’s making passengers crazy with rage. Imbecile.
posted by haqspan at 11:38 AM on July 26, 2001

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