Air India alters its in-flight alcohol policy amid recent events

Air India altered its in-flight alcohol service policy in response to recent incidents of unruly passenger behaviour.

Air India has instructed the cabin crew to tactfully serve further alcohol if needed. The amended policy states that passengers should not be allowed to consume alcohol unless it is provided by the cabin staff and that the crew should be alert to passengers who may be consuming their own alcohol.

The DGCA has recently imposed penalties on the Tata group-owned airline due to the unruly behaviour of passengers on two overseas flights and reporting errors. It was not possible to determine the precise changes in the updated policy right away.

Air India has instructed the cabin crew to tactfully serve further alcohol if needed

“Service of alcoholic beverages must be carried out in a reasonable and safe manner. This includes tactfully refusing to (further) serve a guest alcohol.”

–As Per Policy

An Air India spokesperson said in a statement that the airline had evaluated its current in-flight alcohol serving policy, taking into account best practices from other airlines as well as recommendations from the National Restaurant Association (NRA) of the United States. 

“These were largely in line with Air India’s existing practice, though some adjustments have been made for better clarity, and NRA’s Traffic Light system included to help crew recognise and manage possible cases of intoxication.”

“The new policy has now been promulgated to crew and included in training curricula. Air India remains committed to the safety and well-being of our passengers and cabin crew, including but not limited to the responsible service of alcohol.”

–Spokesperson, Air India
The new policy has now been promulgated to the crew and included in training curricula: AI Spokesperson

For the way it handled the disruptive passenger who urinated on an elderly woman on a New York-Delhi aircraft, Air India was fined Rs 30 lakh (about $37,000). Due to his failure to perform his duties, the Pilot-In-Command was also placed on a three-month suspension. The Director-in-Flight services of AI have been penalised with a fine of Rs 3 lakh.

Also read: DGCA fines Air India INR 30 lakh in urination case, pilot suspended for 3 months

Air India said the matter should have been classified and reported as unruly behaviour by a passenger, but the flight crew and ground staff did not report it as such.

As the airline views the move as “excessive,” it has stated that it will support the flight’s pilot-in-command in his appeal against the DGCA’s suspension of his licence.

Also read: Air India pilots’ body considering legal action over pilot suspension

Air India has stated that it will support the flight’s Captain in his appeal against the DGCA’s suspension of his licence

“Air India wishes to acknowledge the good faith efforts made by the crew to handle the situation effectively in real-time when not all facts were available,” it said in a statement, adding that it deemed “the licence suspension of the commander excessive and will be assisting him with an appeal.

The airline watchdog reported two mishaps on the trip between Paris and New Delhi in a statement. On Tuesday, January 24, the DGCA fined Air India 10 lakh for failing to report these two instances of passenger misbehaviour on an AI-142 aircraft from Paris to New Delhi on December 6 of last year.

Also read: Air India passenger incident: What? How? When?

In one incident, a passenger was observed smoking in the restroom while intoxicated and failing to follow the crew’s directions.

Another passenger allegedly relieved himself on a vacant seat and blanket of a fellow female passenger when she went to the lavatory. 

The DGCA claimed it gave the Accountable Manager of Air India a show-cause notice asking them to explain why they should not be subject to enforcement action for failing to uphold regulatory requirements.

Source: Business Standard