Drunks On A Plane: How Not To Behave During A 6 Hour Flight

Yes, flying can be stressful, but it’s no excuse to get belligerently drunk. On a recent United Airlines flight from Boston to San Francisco a 28 year-old female passenger did the following:

• Used her cell phone.

• Made jokes about the plane being hijacked when asked who she was talking to: “I’m calling 911 because the plane is being hijacked.”

• Attempted to take her dog into the airplane bathroom.

•Locked herself in said bathroom saying: “You are going to have to kill me and my dog.”

• Attempted to exit the aircraft mid-flight. “I’m getting off the aircraft,” she said. She was then restrained with handcuffs and plastic ties.

Attention readers: Do not get drunk during a long flight. We know they stopped giving you food, but you shouldn’t fly drunk. Bring a sandwich. Have a cocktail. But remember, it’s an airplane, not a nightclub. It’s inappropriate to be stinking of alcohol and out of control on a plane. Oh, and bring breath mints, too. Please.—MEGHANN MARCO

United passenger charged for alleged drunken behavior on flight [USA Today]


Edit Your Comment

  1. AcilletaM says:

    Oh, and bring breath mints, too. Please.

    You don’t have to be a drunk to follow this flying advice.

  2. homerjay says:

    Its time we stopped serving booze on airplanes. I mean, you can’t drink as a passenger in a car or cab, why should you when you’re on a plane? Do we REALLY need alcahol that bad that we can’t wait till we get there to tank up?

  3. We know they stopped giving you food…

    I know they did away with the snacks (peanuts or pretzels or whatever) on short flights, but did they get rid of the actual meal as well? I’ve got a couple of long flights from Detroit to Hawai’i coming up. Can I at least upgrade to business/1st class to not have to tote a sandwich?

  4. Homer I completely disagree. If I’m going to have to be on the above mentioned flights with my family I’m going to need a little something. You don’t think they serve the liqour in the morning do they?

    And you can drink (and eat) on a train.

  5. we're only gonna die says:

    Electoral: I just flew Detroit to Hawai’i over the holidays on Northwest and all I was offered was a sandwich or snack pack for $5 each. I’d pack something to eat (I forgot and bought a sandwich and snack pack; both were actually pretty good). Beverage services were frequent, however. It’s also probably cheaper to buy the food in coach rather than upgrade to first class.

  6. Attention readers: Do not get drunk during a long flight.

    It’s like an episode of Airline.

  7. MeOhMy says:

    “But remember, it’s an airplane, not a nightclub. It’s inappropriate to be stinking of alcohol and out of control on a plane.”

    Actually, it’s inappropriate to be stinking of alcohol and out of control at a nightclub, too. It’s just not a federal crime at a nightclub. Too bad.

  8. bluegus32 says:

    “Actually, it’s inappropriate to be stinking of alcohol and out of control at a nightclub, too. “

    It is?

    Which nightclubs have you been frequenting? I’d say drunk and out of control is pretty much the status quo at your major nightclubs.

  9. bearymore says:

    I recently flew DC to LA on United. As a poster said, they only offered a sandwich or snack pack for $5. They ran out of sandwiches about 1/3 of the way down the coach cabin and ran out of snack packs about 2/3 of the way down. This was a 5 hour flight spanning lunch. Since I got a feeder flight from Philadelphia, I had no chance to purchase any food for a total of about 7.5 hours. I stupidly counted on the opportunity to buy a sandwich on the plane. After all, they explained on their web site and in the in-flight magazine that this food would be available.

    If they want to charge $5, that’s one thing. If so, they’d better have enough of the goods that they more or less guarantee would be available.

  10. MeOhMy says:

    “I’d say drunk and out of control is pretty much the status quo at your major nightclubs.”

    It is the status quo. But it’s still inappropriate.

  11. Jory says:

    Its time we stopped serving booze on airplanes.


  12. evilrobot says:

    had an experience last year on a flight from dallas to sf – the row behind us wanted to turn the plane into mardi gras on a monday night. the crew served them drink after drink of jack and coke ‘triples’. not making this up. despite all surrounding passengers begging the crew to stop serving the row of inbreds, the drinks continued. yelling, kicking seats, falling down on other passengers, impossible to ignore.

    never have i wished so hard for someone to choke on their own vomit. special thanks for the form letter reply, american airlines csr. i’m sure you ‘looked into the issue’ thoroughly.

  13. max andrews says:

    They should have let her off the plane when she tried to leave…or kicked her dog out and watched as she chased after it.

  14. moejuda says:

    My airline of choice, Continental, still serves meals on at least some of their flights. My last flight was only 4 hours long, so I assume anything over an ocean would definitely include a meal.

  15. MattyMatt says:

    I am SHOCKED to read that the crazy lady is a resident of the bay area.

  16. bluegus32 says:

    Troy F. — hate to argue with you, but if people at nightclubs are, as a rule, drunk and out of control then that behavior is expected at such establishments. Indeed, it would then become appropriate by virtue of it being the norm.

    Seriously, if you can’t get drunk and out of control at a nightclub where can you get drunk and out of control?

  17. Keter says:

    Actually, that story doesn’t sound like drunken behavior. That sounds like a psychotic episode.

    I was on a Southwest flight once when a large foreign woman became belligerant and started to loudly give the attendant crap…I’m pretty sure she was drunk…and without any coordination whatsoever everybody on the plane told her to STFU and sit down or else. It worked.

  18. WindowSeat says:

    Air Rage/Binge Drinking is always interesting, remember the guy that climbed on a serving cart and took a dump? I KNOW half the passengers on the plane took cellphone video of this girl..where is it?!

  19. kerry says:

    IIRC, in some states it’s legal to drink alcohol as the passenger of a car. Also, on some train lines (like the Metra here in Chicago) it’s OK to drink alcohol. I freaking hate the Friday night opera drunks that take up space and make a lot of noise when I’m just trying to get home from work, though. If they offered me some booze, maybe that’d be another story.

  20. Franklin Comes Alive! says:

    Slightly OT (unruly kid vs unruly drunk) –


    The family in the article says they would never fly AirTran again. This story is a giant plus for AirTran in my book.

  21. elvisaintdead says:

    Attention readers: Do not get drunk during a long flight.

    That’s an entirely different kind of flying, altogether

  22. AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

    I almost always have a few drinks on a flight…and if I have to wait for the flight, I have a drink at an airport bar. Problem is when you have to snap out of it, and navigate those car rental parking lots!

    I think they should have breathlizer tests before you pick up your rental car.

  23. @HomerJay:
    “Do we REALLY need alcahol that bad that we can’t wait till we get there to tank up?”

    GOD YES when we’re on an airplane. Anything to make it suck marginally less. (Although I’m talking glass of wine or a beer, not making it happy hour at the college bar.)

    “I freaking hate the Friday night opera drunks that take up space and make a lot of noise when I’m just trying to get home from work, though”

    I loved the Metra bar cars because they kept all the handsy guys in one place.

  24. KesCaesar says:

    Booze on flights is stupid; it only invites drunken behavior on planes.
    Why not take all the money they’d save if they stop serving alcohol on transatlantic and other long flights and use it to bring back those little packages which included eye masks, little bottles of moisturizer, etc….
    That’d be nice.

  25. Johann says:

    kerry says:
    “IIRC, in some states it’s legal to drink alcohol as the passenger of a car.”

    That used to be the case. A few years back, however, a federal law was passed that made certain federal funds contingent on a state having an open container law. I’m not positive, but I think most all states now comply with that law.

  26. matto says:

    I’ve never understood why you’d drink on a plane; the dehydration from the dry air alone is miserable enough without alcohol making it worse. Yuck.

  27. dead9uy says:

    Last time I had to fly (3 hour flight) we had to be dropped off at the airport 5 hours before our flight. We, of course, ended up at the bar and chatted up a dude that also lives in Portland. He was very excited about this and proceeded to buy us drink after drink. I got completely smashed and barely ambled onto the plane. Have to say though, passed right out and actually wasn’t miserable on a plane for once.

  28. Asherah says:

    No, my best experience with mid-plane alcohol consumption was observing a 40ish father order beer after beer and then passing them over to his 15 year old son who poured them into a Soloesque cup. They both became rather loud and upon informing the flight attendant of the underage shenanigans, they appeared shocked and…did nothing.

  29. Kornkob says:

    *shrug* Kinda tough– which drinking laws apply? The steward staff may well have not cared because it wasn’t illegal.

    For example, in Wisconsin, it is legal for a legal drinking age parent can purchase and server their child alcoholic beverages. The server cannot give the underage person the drink or take money from them but the parent can pass them the booze and pay for it. I know there are other states where this is also true.

    In Wisconsin it is also legal for an ‘of age’ spouse to purchase and serve alcohol to their underage partner.

  30. Rachel says:

    I was victim to the consequences of similar disorderly conduct on an AA flight.

    The flight before ours had a crazy drunk who pissed in his seat making my entire section smell like piss (he also apparently locked himself in the bathroom as well).

    AA’s solution: take coffee grinds and spread them under the seats.

    It worked, but the entire flight it smelled like Dunkin’ Donuts.

  31. ugly says:

    Great for AirTran, too bad they offered them round trip tickets. I’d love to hear if they swallowed their pride and used the tickets, or if they stuck to their guns and stayed off the airline.

    Personally, I think they’d be doing everyone a favour if they held to their boycott.

  32. Sheik says:

    I can’t even imagine how many drinks I would have to consume before I thought that tell the flight attendant I am a terrorist would actually be a good idea. This lady sounds more like a nut case, drink or no.

  33. Kinda tough– which drinking laws apply?

    Once the door closes, it’s Federal – the same alcohol laws that apply in a National Park.

    21 to buy. 21 to drink.

  34. wildhobo says:

    There are no open container laws in Vegas!

  35. Pelagius says:

    Why not take all the money they’d save…

    I suspect they’re actually making money selling cans of Budweiser for $5 a pop.

  36. Youthier says:

    Good on AirTran! I read that article and first thought, “Why is this news?” Airline seemed to bump unruly passengers frequently. But seriously, the family delayed the flight 15 minutes and wanted more time to calm their child? Why does everyone feel so entitled nowadays?

  37. Frank Grimes says:

    Last year I was on a flight from Newark to HOU. After I got on the plane I noticed a passenger ambling up the isle toting what looked like some bottles of booze. The guy also looked like he hadn’t bathed/changed clothes/un funked/ate anything in 72+ hours. He proceeds to tell everyone within earshot that he was “defending America” by working in Afghanistan. He was actually a pretty nice guy once we began speaking with him but then realized that he had brought two fifths of Stoli on the plane, and to make up for lost time with no booze, proceeded to down an entire fifth, drinking straight from the freaking bottle during the four hour flight. The flight attendants gave the guy a lot of slack because it’s hard to be discreet when you’re chugging a fifth and only when it was almost gone did they say something to him. He was even kind enough to offer a belt to his seatmates and myself, who all politely declined. He never got rowdy and I think he passed out because when we got off he was snoring as loud as any human can snore and not moving much. I have no idea what they did with the guy.

  38. Kornkob says:

    OT: Are military posts in Afgan dry? The one’s in Iraq aren’t– I’ve seen plenty of footage of Iraq posts with beer and booze in them. I know that there have been more than one offical party at Bagdad’s green zone that had beer, wine and scotch present, at the very least.

  39. Frank Grimes says:

    I have a friend working for KBR in Afghanistan and they are most certainly dry. Any booze in theater, Iraq or Afghanistan is contraband for contractors and military. There may be some small loopholes byt they make a big deal of it to the emplyees, if you drink, get cought, you go home.

  40. dregan says:

    “Bring a sandwich”

    Just not a PB and J, that would never make it through security. Gel, you know…. you could make a bomb out of it…

  41. typographica says:

    Doesn’t Paris Hilton have her own airplane, or something? Why does she need to fly United?

  42. BotchedJoke says:

    Some of us like to drink on planes, it helps us relax. If I have to listen to your out of control little snot machines, people popping gum and talking about politics, then I’m going to have some drinks. Going back East for Christmas I had to sit next to this nutty girl who had a FERRET in her purse!! Good job TSA! The thing urinated in her purse halfway to Miami and I demanded an upgrade to first and got it. what a nightmare. As far as banning booze on planes, it will never happen thank god.

  43. DougDascenzo says:

    Military in Iraq definitely don’t have alcohol. In fact, I just got an email from a friend of mine who is stationed in Iraq and he mentioned how he and some of the other guys from Chicago celebrated the Bears’ NFC win with an O’Douls.

    These guys are risking their lives every day over there, the least they should get is a cold beer every now and then.

  44. cstatman says:

    SFO to India. I’m traveling, what? 19+ hours?

    Crammed in a coach seat the size of your mom’s Coach purse.

    Next to some engineer who hasn’t bathed in 2 weeks, behind some lady with 3 screaming kids, in front of some guy who kicks the back of the seat.

    Since I’m too old to take seriously recreational drugs? a few shots of vodka, and I can sleep through most of the torture, I mean, flight.

    TSA won’t let us carry on fluids, cause some jackass may make a bomb out of them. No gels, foods, anything. So I request water 8 or 10 times from a seriously overworked cabin staff, hunker down, and try my best to pass out.

    Yes, Drinks on a flight are great. Drunks on a flight should be placed headfirst in the toilet, and flush till their hair turns blue. Then ziptie them up and toss them in the luggage compartment.

    It’s not just planes. If you can’t handle your booze (or anything else) Don’t do it. Anywhere.

  45. radiofree says:

    As a 3-year-old child, I hate flying around adults who kick and scream the whole flight about how they didn’t get the seat they wanted, how they can’t smoke,, how they hate the food and there’s not enough of it anyway. I wish TransAir had thrown out the drunk adults and not just the unruly kid.

  46. shdwsclan says:

    “Drunks On A Plane” -sounds like a bad movie title…

  47. Major-General says:

    @evilrobot: Damn! I have a friend who hates flying, and complains about the 2 drink maximum. But repeated triples? Heaven help us all.

    @cstatman: Yeah, it’s a shame that too many Hollywood movies are ruining air travel for all with so-call binary explosives. [www.theregister.co.uk]