A Passenger Brought His Own Bottle of Alcohol in my Flight

inflight intoxication

The other day we operated a PVR (Puerto Vallarta, Mexico) turn from Vancouver. I hadn’t done any PVR flights this season, but I recall them being pretty easy last season since it’s more or less a family destination.

The southbound flight wasn’t too out of the ordinary. It was a little busy, with call lights going off fairly often and a good number of people wanting drinks from the bar. However it wasn’t anything we weren’t used to. On this flight I was working in the galley. Shortly after our formal bar service a woman came into the galley and said to me,

“I think you should know there’s a man out here drinking alcohol from his own bottle.”

“Where?” I asked

“Just right out here.”

I peek out from behind the galley curtain and sure enough I can see the open bottle of Sailor Jerry Rum. He was sitting only 2 rows from the aft of the aircraft. I walked right out to him (As I got closer I recognised the slurred speech of someone who was very intoxicated.) Fantastic. We’re liable if ANYTHING happens because if his actions.

When I got to the row, I could see the girl he’s traveling with has taken the rum from him. She’s obviously had enough of him already. They both look up at me as I reach over and take the bottle of rum. I don’t say a word but just walk away. Once in my galley I stow the rum in a canister. I’m pretty sure everyone around saw me take the rum. I didn’t say anything while I did it, but my actions were clear enough to everyone that what was happening here wont be tolerated.

I called our Cabin Manager in the forward galley and informed her that I confiscated a bottle of rum from a passenger in 31C. I told her I hadn’t said anything to them yet, but once he sobers up a bit I’ll give him the riot act.

The woman who originally reported him then said to me that she didn’t want to be a rat, but she was concerned. I of course told her that it’s very appreciated the she told us. It’s for the safety of the individual and everyone around them that people can’t drink their own alcohol onboard. People don’t realize how quickly they are affected at high altitudes.

The rest of the flight was routine. Our friend in 31C was drunk, but harmless. The entire crew was advised of the situation and informed not to offer him any more alcohol. And while he was very talkative with those around him, he didn’t seem to be bothering anyone around him.

At 10 minutes to landing I returned to his seat. I gave the bottle to his traveling companion who had not been drinking and told her that the bottle goes into her carryon bag, and it stays there. I then turned to our inebriated friend and said, “And as for you. Drinking your own alcohol on a commercial aircraft is an offence. We’re giving you a warning today, but if you try this again you will be met by police at the gate.”

He was still a little too drunk to really understand the severity of what I was saying. I turned back to his friend and said “Make sure he know how serious I am.”

She was already beyond embarrassed by him, I could also tell she was pretty angry with him from the start of it all. She said to me, “Oh, I will.”

And that was it. We landed and they were gone. I figured it wasn’t worth getting the police involved this time since he was harmless throughout flight. And quite frankly he probably had a hell of a time trying to get through Mexican immigration in the state he was in. That’s probably punishment enough right there. They likely would have held him there for some time.

Once he was off the flight, a couple passengers who were near by came to the back to let me know they thought I handled the situation really well. I was glad to hear it.

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2 thoughts on “A Passenger Brought His Own Bottle of Alcohol in my Flight”

  1. Good job. As you probably know all too well, many folks bring their own spirits aboard, if only to avoid the offensive prices. The smart ones are discreet, know their limits and never become offensive or intoxicated. Of course, you eventually know about them. If they do not misbehave or become intoxicated, do you still intervene? In the case described, I think you did a masterful job of controlling the situation. I can just imagine having to evacuate that poor soul, should it become necessary. Let’s call it a GREAT job. -Craig

    1. We can only intervene if we see the actual bottle of alcohol.

      Even if the person was not intoxicated or not misbehaving I’d still intervene. Partly because I’m 100% liable if something happens after they get off the plane, but also because people just don’t know how quickly they’ll be affected by the alcohol. It can become a medical situation a lot quicker than you’d think.

      All Beer, Wines, and Spirits are $6 each at my airline. Is that expensive? I rarely drink, I really don’t know!

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