Pre-Flight Cocktails May Become a Thing of the Past at UK Airports

Jan 9, 2018

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Downing a perfectly chilled cocktail may be a pre-flight ritual for many travelers, but if lawmakers in the United Kingdom have their way, airport drinking could become a thing of the past. According to the BBC, the UK government’s Home Office is concerned about the rising number of alcohol-induced air rage incidents and believes that the best way to curb the problem is to restrict how and when airport bars and restaurants can serve alcohol to waiting passengers.

While the rest of England and Wales’ booze-serving establishments are forced to abide by certain restrictions laid out by the Licensing Act 2003, airport bars and eateries are able to operate outside of this regulation, meaning that they can serve patrons at any time of day. Worried that so many travelers are being inconvenienced by what the Home Office describes as “a small minority of people” who drink too much at the airport, then turn belligerent at 35,000 feet, the ministerial department is looking into what it would take to extend the Licensing Act to airport facilities.

The recommendation came from the House of Lords, who in 2017 found that the majority of air rage incidents — which have included everything from good old boorish behavior to threatening fellow flyers and cabin crew members — involved passengers who had been drinking before boarding their flights. In response, the Home Office issued a statement declaring: “With over 260 million passengers traveling through the UK airports annually, any disruptive passenger behavior is entirely unacceptable and an issue that warrants further examination.”

The Civil Aviation Authority, England’s equivalent of the FAA, reported a total of 418 air rage incidents in 2016. While that number may seem small given the millions of people who board an airplane in the United Kingdom in any given year, it’s double the number seen in 2015. And an earlier BBC report based on previous CAA data showed that disruptive aviation incidents had quadrupled between 2013 and 2015.

“You can see it every day where people are drinking pints at six in the morning,” said Phil Ward, managing director of, in 2016, when he announced that the low-cost, Leeds-based airline would be banning the sale of alcohol before 8am on its flights. “I’m not trying to spoil people’s holidays at all, but it’s not normal to drink a pint at six in the morning and that then manifests itself on board the plane where the alcohol takes a greater effect.”


Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 60,000 Points


CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 3X points on dining and 2x points on travel, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • Enjoy benefits such as a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on dining and 2x on all other travel purchases, plus more.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Get complimentary access to DashPass which unlocks $0 delivery fees and lower service fees for a minimum of one year when you activate by December 31, 2024.
Regular APR
16.74% - 23.74% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.