Mid-air peeing row: Air India amends existing in-flight liquor policy
In the wake of multiple untoward incidents on its flights, Air India has modified its in-flight alcohol service policy wherein cabin crew have been told to tactfully refuse further serving of alcohol if needed.
According to the revised policy, “Alcoholic beverages must be served in an appropriate and safe manner. This also includes refusing to serve alcohol (further) to the guests.”
Air India said in a statement on Tuesday (24).
The carrier faced heavy backlash from everywhere including the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) for its poor handling of the back-to-back incidents of unruly behavior of passengers on its flights.
“We have reviewed our existing in-flight alcohol service policy taking reference from other carriers’ practice and input from the US National Restaurants Association’s (NRA) guidelines. These were largely in line with Air India’s existing practice, though some adjustments have been made for better clarity,” the Air India said.
The airline has also included NRA’s Traffic Light system to help the crew recognize 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,” the statement added.
Regarding the alleged urination case in the New York-New Delhi flight on November 26 last year, Air India has closed its internal inquiry into the matter. Also, will assist the chief pilot in his appeal against the suspension of the license by the DGCA.
The DGCA suspended the license of an Air India pilot for three months in connection with the incident of urination in the aircraft. Air India was fined Rs 30 lakh (£29,889) and the director of in-flight services of the airline was fined Rs 3 lakh (£2,989) too.
On Monday (23), the DGCA imposed a penalty of Rs 10 lakh (£9,963) on Air India for not reporting incidents of passenger misbehavior to the regulatory body during the Paris-New Delhi flight on December 6, last year, and delaying in referring the matter to its Internal Committee. The aviation body said the matter is a violation of applicable DGCA Civil Aviation Requirements.
In a statement DGCA said that action was taken on the incident of passenger misbehavior which occurred on the AI-142 flight dated December 6, 2022, from Paris to New Delhi, came to the notice of DGCA wherein one passenger was caught smoking in the lavatory, was drunk and not adhering to the crew instructions; and another passenger allegedly relieved himself on a vacant seat and blanket of a fellow female passenger when she went to the lavatory.
DGCA had issued a show cause notice to the Accountable Manager of Air India as to why enforcement action should not be taken against them for dereliction of their regulatory obligations.
Earlier on November 26 last year, a man named Shankar Mishra allegedly urinated on a 70-year-old woman co-passenger in an inebriated condition in business class of an Air India New York-New Delhi flight, but the incident was not reported to the DGCA which was attributed to the delay in reporting the incident by the airline crew.
After the urination incident, Air India CEO Campbell Wilson said the airline also reviewing other aspects related to the incident, including its alcohol-serving policy.
“Internal investigations into whether there were lapses by other staff are ongoing on aspects including the service of alcohol on the flight, incident handling, complaint registration on board, and grievance handling,” the CEO statement read earlier.