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Ryanair has called for a two-drink limit after an investigation revealed the number of passengers arrested for drunken behaviour has risen by 50 per cent in one year.
Europe’s largest short-haul airline’s proposals come after it banned customers from drinking duty-free alcohol on flights and stopped passengers from bringing it on board altogether at some airports.
The company is now urging airports to ban alcohol sales before 10am and to crackdown on the number of drinks holidaymakers are allowed per boarding pass to a maximum of two.
It comes after figures obtained by BBC Panorama from 18 out of 20 police forces with major UK airports on their patches revealed a surge in arrests for drunken behaviour on flights or at airports.
Ryanair’s marketing director Kenny Jacobs said: “This is an issue which the airports must now address and we are calling for significant changes to prohibit the sale of alcohol at airports, particularly with early morning flights and when flights are delayed.”
There was a total of 387 arrests in the year to February 2017, up from 255 in the period from February 2015 to 2016, according to the data.
Ally Murphy, a former Virgin Airlines cabin crew manager, told Panorama: “People just see us as barmaids in the sky.
“I was pulled into an upper-class bed by a passenger who was feeling particularly lucky I guess.
“They would touch your breasts, or they’d touch your bum or your legs, or I mean I’ve had hands going up my skirt before.
“It’s rage inducing, and you shouldn’t have to deal with that.
“I guess I never reported it to the police because sadly, and this is completely wrong and only really occurring to me now, you kind of just accept it as part of the job. And it shouldn’t be.”
Another cabin crew member, who was unnamed in the programme, said airline workers had found “countless” litre bottles of vodka and they felt that Alicante, Ibiza and Palma were among the worst routes.
Alexandra Wilms, of the Balearic Ministry of Tourism, called for “high fines” to try and deal with the problem as “these kinds of people don’t understand any other thing than really getting punished by paying a lot of money” while Airport Operators’ Association chief executive Karen Dee rejected suggestions airports are irresponsibly selling alcohol.
Ms Dee said: “The sale of alcohol per se is not a problem. It’s the misuse of it and drinking to excess and then behaving badly.”
Panorama also points out that the UK aviation industry brought in a voluntary code that recommends airports and airlines should work together to responsibly sell alcohol a year ago.
Most of the big airlines and airports have signed up to this.
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