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Jet2 will ban drunk passengers for life in airline crackdown on 'disruptive travellers'

By Claire Cromie

You might want to think twice about that next tipple at 34,000 feet... drunk passengers could be banned from flying with airlines for life.

Jet2, which operates 19 flights out of Belfast International Airport, is cracking down on unruly passengers as holiday companies report a "record double figure rise" in disruptive behaviour.

UK travel operators are calling for industry-wide measures to tackle the problem as the summer holiday season moves into full swing.

And budget carrier Jet2 has already put new rules in place, saying it will ban disruptive passengers for life.

Managing Director Phil Ward told The Times he had seen passengers swigging from cans of lager at 5.30am in Manchester Airport and was concerned about “pre-loading” before flights.

“The plane is not a nightclub,” he said. “It’s six miles up and going at 500mph so you can’t step outside to get some fresh air.”

The airline says it has "empowered its staff to take decisions quickly" by giving verbal and written warnings to disruptive passengers and will divert the aircraft to the nearest airport to off-load "particularly offensive people" before flying remaining passengers on to their holiday destination.

It will also hand such passengers them over to the police, issue a bill for the cost of any diversion and take legal action post-travel.

"Over the past two years, unruly and disorderly behaviour often linked to excessive alcohol consumption prior to embarkation has risen drastically on-board aircraft," the company said in a statement.

"Cabin crew increasingly have to deal with people displaying abusive, racist and often noisy and aggressive conduct, causing misery and disruption for other passengers nearby."

Jet2 is working with other holiday companies, the British Air Transport Association, the Airport Operators Association and the UK’s leading airports to put in place its policies. It has also written to the Secretary of State for Transport, urging "more decisive action from the Government to ensure unpleasant and disruptive behaviour during air travel is eradicated".

Mr Ward added: "We are a family airline and holiday company carrying millions of passengers every year.

"These are people who have chosen to take their well-earned summer breaks with us and we want them to have a wonderful time.  Therefore, under no circumstances will we allow the disruptive few to spoil the experience for the majority of the fantastic customers that fly with us."

"Most passengers absolutely know how to behave on board, whilst having a good time too.  It’s for that reason that we must stamp out this rise in disruptive behaviour."

Read more:

Drunk passenger jailed for jet row

Virgin Atlantic set to return to Belfast with four US flights 

Lord Empey wants legislation to protect Belfast to Heathrow air-link 

Advice for those travelling to Greece: Should holidaymakers be anxious? 

Northern Ireland holidaymakers to benefit from long haul options from Dublin 

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