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FAA asks airports to stop selling to-go alcohol in effort to crack down on unruly passenger behavior

Alcohol In Airports
Posted at 9:41 AM, Aug 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-05 14:21:23-04

The FAA has asked airports to more tightly monitor the consumption of alcohol amid a spike in unruly behavior by passengers.

ABC News and NBC News report that the FAA sent a letter to airport managers on Tuesday, asking that restaurants and concession stands in airports not sell alcohol in "to-go" containers.

Federal law prohibits the consumption of alcohol on planes not served by the airliner. However, FAA Administrator Steve Dickson said in his letter that the agency had received an increase in reports that passengers are bringing to-go alcoholic beverages on planes.

"As the number of passengers traveling has increased, so has the number of unruly and unsafe behavior incidents on planes and in airports," Dickson wrote. "Our investigations show that alcohol often contributes to this unsafe behavior."

In addition to keeping alcoholic beverages out of to-go containers, Dickson said that airports could make passengers aware of restrictions through "signage, public service announcement, and concessionaire education."

Earlier this week, an unruly passenger was arrested in Florida after he was filmed on video attacking and groping flight attendants. The Miami-Dade Police Department said that alcohol was likely a factor in the passenger's behavior.

Fueled partly by mask mandates and other COVID-19 restrictions, the FAA has seen an enormous spike in reports of unruly passenger behavior in 2021. In late July, the FAA reported that it had received 3,500 reports of unruly passengers so far in 2021 — a 500% jump from 2019.

The FAA has already instituted a "zero-tolerance policy" toward prosecuting unruly passengers. That policy has been extended indefinitely.