Do airlines limit how many drinks I can have on a flight?

Scandinavian carrier SAS recently attracted attention when it imposed a three-drinks limit on passengers on flights within Europe.

This follows a move by the International Air Transport Association last year which called for action to reduce the number of unruly passengers who disrupt flights through excessive alcohol consumption, but as a general rule it seems cabin crew will continue to serve alcohol to passengers who request it.

On a Qantas flight from Sydney to Darwin in mid-2014, the man in the next seat requested and was served five airline size bottles of white wine. That's five bottles of 187ml each, for a total of 935ml,  more than nine standard drinks. The man showed no ill effects, was not noisy or in any noticeable way affected by alcohol. There was no logical reason to refuse his request but I was surprised that cabin crew were prepared to serve drinks with no questions asked.

The problem is, cabin crew will rarely know that a passenger has had too much to drink until they've had that one too many.

By which time an inebriated passenger could be abusive, threatening, vomiting and possibly violent.

In the worst cases, drunk passengers have lit up cigarettes in aircraft toilets, fought with other passengers and aircrew and caused aircraft to make emergency landings.

A cut-off limit would be unfair to those who can hold their liquor but if it makes for safer skies it's an idea worth considering.

Do you think airlines should limit the number of alcoholic drinks a passenger can have? Post your comments below.

See also: Ten rules every traveller should follow
See also: Why you should order the special meal on planes

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