Lonely Planet Writer

Why getting too drunk on your flight could cost you up to £80,000

Having a drink on a flight is a popular – if often overpriced – way to relax and get ready for a holiday. But, a new campaign in the UK is warning travellers that getting too drunk on a flight could bring heavy fines, an airline ban or even prison time.

Airports and airlines in the UK want to crack down on excessive drinking. Image by Caiaimage/Rafal Rodzoch/Getty Images

The ‘One Too Many’ campaign is bringing together travel retailers, airports and airlines to help spread the message about what can happen when travellers get too drunk before or during a flight. The campaign will include advertisements within airports and also on social media, driving home the idea that a few drinks could ruin a holiday or worse.

One of the risks for those who like to drink before they reach the gate includes being denied boarding. But one of the biggest consequences – and one that has made headlines after some recent high-profile incidents – is drunk and disorderly passengers who cause such a plane diversion, which can mean “heavy fines, up to two years’ prison, an airline ban and a diversion fee up to £80,000 for the most serious in-flight incidents”.

Passengers who drink too much may end up with fines or more. Image by izusek/Getty Images

There are a number of airports around the UK promoting the campaign, like Manchester, Bristol, Birmingham, Newcastle and Gatwick. The UK’s aviation minister, Baroness Sugg, said in a statement: “Disruptive passengers have the potential to ruin other people’s flights, and this campaign is an important new step to ensure all passengers are aware of the consequences they face if they behave disruptively after drinking before or on board a flight. I am pleased to see the industry come together to ensure the experiences at our airports and on flights remain positive for everyone.”

The issue of unruly passengers has been a hot topic among airports and airlines for years. Last year, Irish budget airline Ryanair called for a ban on the sale of alcohol in UK airport bars and restaurants before 10am, in an effort to stop such problems before they start.