South Africans might drink & fly‚ but we don't get out of hand

16 August 2017 - 11:41
By Nivashni Nair
Image: iStock

South African air travellers do not need to be grounded after downing a few.

Local travel agents and cabin crew say reports of unruly drunken South African passengers are uncommon.

"It would appear that South African travellers are relatively well behaved on flights as reports of drunken behaviour are rare. While there is a culture of enjoying pre-flight drinks at the airport this is offset by the slow speed at which airlines offer drinks and refills‚" Thompsons Holidays spokesman John Ridler.

BBC's Panorama programme this week revealed that the number of passengers arrested for drunken behaviour on flights or at United Kingdom airports increased from 255 to 387 in the past year. British cabin crew spoke of being spat on‚ groped‚ vomited on and verbally abused.

The spike in arrests led to Europe's biggest short-haul airline‚ Ryanair‚ calling for a ban on early morning alcohol sales in airport bars and restaurants and limiting the number of drinks sold per boarding pass.

But in South African's cases‚ there doesn’t seem to be a problem.

"Possibly‚ the South African public don’t have enough time to imbibe at the airports as their progress through security and immigration is at snail’s pace and they have to run to catch their flights‚" Ridler said.

South African Cabin Crew Association secretary general Mpho Moikangoa said the most recent arrest in South Africa was six months ago when a drunk Zimbabwean passenger assaulted a member of the cabin crew.

He said while South Africans indulged before flights and on board‚ crew were quick to put a stop to rowdy behaviour.

"If we see that someone has had too much to drink‚ we do not offer them more to drink. We also issue warnings if someone steps out of line‚ however‚ it is not often that a drunk South African passenger misbehaves‚" he said.

In the past three months‚ he recalls only one warning to a rowdy drunk passenger.

"Our passengers tend to be good."