Last call for pints at the airport

The much-loved travel tradition of the early morning pint is in danger.

The Home Office is considering new legislation that extends high-street licensing rules to airport terminals around the country, meaning airport bars and restaurants would be prohibited from selling booze before 10am – putting an end to the pre-holiday breakfast pint. How else will we steady our nerves before take-off?

Here’s what you need to know:

  • Airline lounges are exempt from the crackdown as alcohol is complementary
  • As well as no alcohol sales before 10am, Ryanair is pushing for a two drink limit per customer
  • Jet2, the low-cost airline, has already banned alcohol sales on flights before 08:00


A possible motive behind the proposed changes is the rise in reports of drunk and disorderly passengers on flights. A recent BBC Panorama investigation suggested arrests of drunken passengers have risen by 50% in just a year.

A Japanese pilot was arrested at Heathrow Airport for being almost 10 ten times the alcohol legal limit for a pilot. He was also two times the legal drink-drive limit in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland.  

“The code of conduct isn’t working… we’re seeing these incidents on a daily, a weekly, a monthly basis. It’s the alcohol mainly in the duty free that is the significant problem,” said an anonymous crew member to Panorama.

However, the argument to ban alcohol has been brewing since the summer when Ryanair called for restrictions at the airport. Research done by the Voice of London saw a 50/50 split between people for and against the ban.

See also: Ryanair raises hand luggage costs again. 


People argue this dampens the holiday spirit and would significantly affect Stag and Hen parties trying to get in the mood. Some drink as a coping mechanism for the stress of travelling. There’s no denying the pre-flight is deeply engrained into the travel habits of many Britons

Passengers already face a stiff penalty for drunken behaviour on aircraft. They can pay fines of up to £5,000 plus two years in prison.  

Words by Earyel Bowleg | Subbing by Memuna Konteh

Photo credit: Yucatar on Unsplash.

Accessibility | Cookies | Terms of use and privacy