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FAA to airports: To curb ‘unruly’ passengers, don’t allow to-go alcohol on board

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A rise in drunk and unruly passengers aboard flights caused the Federal Aviation Administration to ask for reinforcement from local airports this week.

A letter from the FAA outlines an increase in rude passengers that they call “unruly” and “dangerous.” They say a lot of the issues are connected back to excessive drinking before and aboard flights.

It is almost a tradition at the airport for a passenger to have a drink or two to cut the preflight jitters, but some people are taking it to the next level recently and causing problems in flight.

“I have had a drink before a flight or a drink in flight but it is limited. It is in moderation,” said IND passenger Elizabeth Miller on Friday.

In the letter, FAA administrator Steve Dickson says that “every week, we see situations in which law enforcement was asked to meet an aircraft at the gate following an unruly passenger incident.”

The letter goes on to say that “our investigations show that alcohol often contributes to this unsafe behavior.”

Most recently, a man was duct-taped to his seat on a Frontier flight to Miami for his behavior where he groped a flight attendant. He had reportedly been drinking on the flight.

“I would help them duct-tape him if I needed to. I am OK with that,” said IND passenger Mark Sybouts of Friday.

The FAA is asking that airports work with concessionaires to help avoid these situations by following the FAA guidelines and not allowing passengers to take to-go alcohol on flights and keep them from becoming “inebriated” during the boarding process.

“I mean it is very uncomfortable because you don’t know how far it is going to escalate. You know it is kind of like watching a toddler that won’t behave. You kind of feel bad for the parent because they are doing all they can in public to try and control the situation,” said IND passenger Tammi Brace on Friday.

In response to the FAA request Indianapolis International Airport sent a statement to News 8 saying:

“While we applaud the behavior of the vast majority of passengers who fly through IND, we also respect the FAA’s guidance and those exceptional situations our TSA and airline partners can face during these challenging times in air travel. We are taking the FAA’s guidance seriously, and we are sharing it with our food and beverage concessionaires throughout the terminal to help head off situations that could become problematic.”

Indianapolis International Airport

The FAA says they adopted a “zero tolerance” policy toward the unruly behavior on flights earlier in the year hitting these passengers with fines. However, later when they are interviewed by local authorities they often go uncharged which the FAA says fails to hold “passengers accountable for their unacceptable and dangerous behavior.”