Survey finds airport pre-drinks are getting Aussies too drunk to fly

By Kirrily Schwarz

Sixty per cent of Australian travellers admitted to drinking before getting on a plane

A few too many drinks could lead to in-flight troubles. Photo / 123RF
A few too many drinks could lead to in-flight troubles. Photo / 123RF

Australians have a reputation as being pretty boozy travellers, and now a new survey has revealed the truth about their airport drinking habits.

Sixty per cent of Australian travellers admitted to drinking before getting on a plane, in an anonymous online questionnaire by Cheapflights.

About half the respondents say it was a way of "kick starting" their holiday, with about 20 per cent admitting to knocking the froth off their first beer before 9am.

At least 16 per cent are parents, sneaking to the bar to escape their kids.

And while most people keep it under control, spending an average of A$21.70 on booze, 20 per cent admit they - or someone they know - were "too trollied to fly".

"It's astounding to see the number of people who opt for a drink as soon as they arrive at the airport, no matter the time of day.

It seems the airport is a place where the normal rules of life are suspended," said Cheapflights spokesman Nathan Graham.

"With four in 10 people unaware that high altitude can increase the effect of alcohol on the body, we need to be mindful that our mentality to 'cut loose' on holiday, even before we've left, may have consequences."

Earlier this year, six Australian men were involved in a drunken midair brawl on the way from Sydney to Phuket, forcing the pilot to divert to Bali.

Twenty per cent of travellers have their first drink before 9am. Photo / 123RF
Twenty per cent of travellers have their first drink before 9am. Photo / 123RF

Romy Papas, who was sitting in the same row, said one man was being obnoxious when his mate punched him in the face, sparking the fight.

"He hit him in the face three times or so ... there was blood everywhere, it was all over his chest and he was wiping it on the seats and there was bloody napkins everywhere," she said.

Police escorted the drunks from the plane, but they escaped without charge.

In January, a passenger was so drunk he had to be restrained on a Qantas flight from Perth to Sydney after becoming aggressive toward flight attendants.

Australia's drinking culture has become so prolific, some travellers confessed to news.com.au the need to apologise for their compatriots abroad.

"I've been seriously embarrassed by loudmouthed, drunk and aggressive male Australians while travelling. One guy kept saying he was from Bondi and everyone else were wankers ... every time he got drunk, which was every day. We wanted to throw him off the bus so badly," Daniel Felkai told news.com.au.

"I've had to apologise for the obnoxious bogan behaviour of our younger travellers to people who've expressed distaste at their drunken behaviour," added Tori Starr.

"Sadly people forget that they are representing their country while overseas and take it as a ticket to behave in a way that they probably wouldn't in their home town. I've found other travellers' opinions of us to be pretty low, which isn't just disappointing, it's embarrassing."

- news.com.au

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