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The U.K. May Soon Make It Illegal to Drink at Airports Before 10 A.M.

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By Cailey Rizzo, Travel + Leisure

After numerous complaints about drunk passengers from budget airlines like Ryanair and easyJet, the British government announced last week that it would review airport licensing rules that allow travelers to get an early start on their holiday boozing.

To be clear: the British Home Office is not looking to completely ban drinking at airports. It is just investigating the possibility of delaying the opening of airport bars until 10 a.m., eliminating the early-morning drinking hours British citizens currently enjoy.

According to the British Civil Aviation Authority, incidents of disruptive passengers on planes increased 600 percent between 2012 and 2016. In 2017, there were 417 reports of serious passenger disruptions on flights around the United Kingdom. Most of these incidents involved alcohol.

“It’s completely unfair that airports can profit from the unlimited sale of alcohol to passengers and leave the airlines to deal with the safety consequences,” Ryanair said in a statement last year. The airline called on airports to restrict alcohol sales, particularly during flight delays.

The government will allow three months for members of the public to voice their opinion on the issue.

Just so you know, it is indeed illegal to be drunk on a flight in Britain. Passengers caught under the influence on a plane could be sentenced to up to two years in prison. And disrupting a flight could land a passenger up to five years behind bars.

Still, passengers think the airline industry has bigger fish to fry than someone enjoying a few pre-flight cocktails.

“I know you can be banned from getting on a plane for being drunk,” Sam Pugh, a passenger at Luton Airport told the New York Times last week, “but you can’t for being an idiot. It might be better if they banned idiots.”

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