With a shift in passengers from business to leisure, and an increasingly younger demographic, we’ve seen a number of incidents at gates and on planes in ways that have surprised me. Fewer passengers and the challenges of the pandemic I would have thought would see greater camaraderie and a sense we’re all in this together.
Instead bringing people together in a stressful time inside a metal tube has meant plenty of passengers behaving badly. American Airlines just sent out a note to its employees letting them know what to look for in passengers who may be inebriated (or are high), and what to do when they encounter passengers who shouldn’t be boarding their planes.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) prohibits any carrier from boarding a customer on an aircraft if they appear to be intoxicated or under the influence of drugs.
Help ensure we meet FAA regulations while keeping our crew members and other customers safe by following these guidelines when dealing with intoxicated customers:
Boarding: Do not allow a customer to enter the jetbridge with an open container containing an obvious alcoholic beverage such as:
- An open beer can
- A cocktail in a cup/glass
- To-go alcohol from airport vendors
If a customer is in possession of an open alcoholic beverage but doesn’t appear intoxicated, advise them they cannot board or enter the jetbridge until they have disposed of their drink.
Signs of intoxication: Here are some obvious indicators that someone may be intoxicated
- Difficulty with balance or fine motor control
- Speaks with inappropriate volume, pace, or poor enunciation
- Takes longer to respond and/or is unable to understand or pay attention
- Emits a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage
- Behaves in an erratic, obnoxious manner
- Becomes extremely argumentative with other customers or team members
Steps to take: It’s important to keep situations like this from escalating. Before refusing to board a customer that exhibits any of the above behaviors:
- Contact a Ground Security Coordinator (GSC) or member of management
- If a GSC is not available, you may contact the SCSM at […]
- Do not accuse a customer of being drunk or intoxicated, which could anger them
On a short Dallas – Austin flight I once sat next to a woman who had brought a glass of wine onboard from the Admirals Club in a coffee cup. We were in first class, so she could have had more if she wanted. We even got predeparture beverages. But she wanted it during climb out, which led to a conflict with a crewmember… and an inflight disturbance report. Fortunately it didn’t wind up sending us to the nearest airport. Think of these guidelines from American as the ‘anti-diversion’ procedures.