Pee-gate shocker: Air India amends existing in-flight liquor policy

25 January, 2023 | Vaishali Sharma

Air India National

Following a number of unpleasant events on its flights, Air India has updated its in-flight alcohol delivery policy, instructing cabin staff to politely deny more servings of alcohol if necessary. ...

Following a number of unpleasant events on its flights, Air India has updated its in-flight alcohol delivery policy, instructing cabin staff to politely deny more servings of alcohol if necessary.

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.
 
Air India received harsh criticism from all quarters, including the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, for its handling of two incidences of rowdy passenger conduct on its aircraft.

“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 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.

Air India has concluded its internal investigation into the alleged urinating issue on the November 26 flight from New York to Delhi. Will also aid the chief pilot in his appeal against the DGCA’s suspension of his licence.

In relation with the incidence of urinating in the aircraft, the DGCA suspended an Air India pilot’s licence for three months. Air India was fined Rs 30 lakh, while the airline’s director of in-flight services was fined Rs 3 lakh as well.

Earlier on Monday, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) fined Air India Rs 10 lakh for failing to report incidences of passenger misbehaviour to the regulatory authority and failing to submit the matter to its Internal Committee. According to the aviation agency, the incident is a breach of the applicable DGCA Civil Aviation Requirements.

In a statement, the DGCA stated that action was taken in response to an incident of passenger misbehaviour that occurred on the AI-142 flight from Paris to New Delhi on December 6, 2022, when one passenger was caught smoking in the lavatory, was drunk, and did not follow 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.

The DGCA has issued a show cause notice to Air India’s Accountable Manager, asking why enforcement action should not be taken against them for failing to meet their regulatory duties. On January 23, Air India responded to the show cause notice, which was reviewed.