AIR INDIA BANS IN-FLIGHT CONSUMPTION OF OWN ALCOHOL, CREWS CAN STOP ALCOHOL SERVICE
By Siulan Law Mathews DipWSET
Source: Air India
Air India has stopped allowing passengers to consume their own alcoholic drinks on international flights and has given its cabin crew more authority in refusing to serve alcohol in certain circumstances.
The move is in response to a much talked about case where a drunk passenger urinating on an elderly lady on one of Air India’s flights.
Air India was fined INR3,000,000 (USD37,000) by India's aviation regulator for its handling of the incident, the company’s head of in-flight service was fined INR300,000. The pilot-in-command of the flight has been suspended for three months.
The airline has concluded an internal investigation of the incident and announced changes to its alcohol serving policy on its international flights on 19 January.
In the revised policy, passengers are not allowed to consume their own store-bought alcoholic drinks in-flight, and the cabin crew have been asked to be attentive in identifying such guests.
"Service of alcoholic beverages must be carried out in a reasonable and safe manner. This includes tactfully refusing to (further) serve a guest alcohol," said the revised the policy.
In a statement, an Air India spokesperson said the airline has reviewed its existing in-flight alcohol service policy, taking reference from other carriers' practice and input from the US National Restaurants Association's (NRA) guidelines.
"These were largely in line with Air India's existing practice, though some adjustments have been made for better clarity, and NRA's Traffic Light system included to help crew recognise and manage possible cases of intoxication.
The cabin crew have been asked to observe passengers and look for signs such as speech, coordination, balance, and behavior, and classify them as green, yellow, or red. They have also been asked to handle tricky situations tactfully to avoid conflict mid-air.
The new policy also added that "managing unduly intoxicated patrons must be done assertively and respectfully."
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