Winston Aldworth 's Opinion

Winston Aldworth is the Herald's Travel Editor.

Winston Aldworth: The billion-dollar booze problem

Be responsible when drinking in-flight. Photo / Thinkstock
Be responsible when drinking in-flight. Photo / Thinkstock

Bean-counters in the airline industry claim alcohol-fuelled misbehaviour is costing the global aviation business US$1 billion annually.

If an unruly passenger causes a flight to be diverted, the costs (including new flights and last-minute accommodation for all other passengers) can hit US$200,000.

I love a drink when I fly. No matter how often you get into the air, it's always a bit of an occasion - generally when we fly, we're going somewhere exciting or off to see people we love. That's worth a toast. At the very least, we're not in the office. Salut to that!

But don't join the one-in-400,000 airline passengers who becomes a problem.

Since 2010, the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) estimates there have been more than 20,000 inflight incidents ranging from simply not following crew instructions to outright assault, drug use and sexual harassment.

Not cool.

Many airlines want the airports to take a harder line with drunk passengers. It makes sense to make sure no one is too hammered when boarding the plane. (The flipside: Many airports make a truckload of cash selling booze.)

"A robust solution needs alignment among airlines, airports, and governments," said IATA CEO Tony Tyler.

Most of us are fine. With alcohol, it's the minority who give it a bad name. As the profoundly wise Matt Heath wrote in the Herald last week: "Bad behaviour is a dickhead problem not a booze problem."

Again, salut to that.

From the Herald's secret bunker

I'm writing this Travel editorial from a secret Herald safe house. Having last week suggested that Glastonbury was anything other than the most awesome thing on Eaaaaaarth, maaaaan, I've been hidden for my own protection, driven underground by fire-poi wielding assassins.

I can report that my opinion of Glasto hasn't changed and that Bevan Chuang left the safehouse a bit messy.

It's fair to say the social media response to last week's editorial was strong.

I should have offered alternative festivals last week. Smaller is best. The Travel Editor's choice: Bennicassim and Bestival.

- NZ Herald

Winston Aldworth

Winston Aldworth is the Herald's Travel Editor.

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