Downing drinks to while away the hours on your flight might seem like a worthy idea, but it can sometimes lead to disaster.

There have been many incidents this year alone of drunk Britons wreaking havoc on flights between the UK and Europe.

Some tourism destinations, including the Balearic Islands, have called for an alcohol ban on planes in response to unruly behaviour.

The situation has become so difficult to manage, it’s prompted airlines to demand restrictions of their own.

Last month Ryanair began lobbying for a two-drink limit at airports and no booze allowed before 10am.

As the debate over alcohol and aviation escalates, many passengers remain unaware of the rules surrounding drinking on flights.

Flights alcohol planes illegal drunk

Flights and alcohol: What is the law when it comes to being drunk on a plane?

It is a criminal offence to be drunk on an aircraft

Contrary to popular opinion, you can only drink alcohol provided by the airline on your flight.

Though you can bring duty free drinks on the plane, you are not allowed to drink these while on board.

Whether unintentional or deliberate, many people would be guilty of being drunk on a flight at least once.

Little do most people know that this behaviour is illegal.

It is a criminal offence to be drunk on an aircraft, which carries a maximum sentence of two years in prison, according to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

Flights alcohol planes illegal drunk

Flights and alcohol: Flight attendants have the right to refuse passengers who have drunk too much

Head of Flight Operations Rob Bishton said: “Going on holiday is an exciting time and a chance to let our hair down, but that is no excuse for rude and aggressive behaviour from passengers, which can disrupt journeys and pose a flight safety risk.

“Witnessing drunken and abusive behaviour aimed at other passengers, or all too often cabin crew, is certainly not the best way to kick-off a holiday.

“It may come as a surprise to some, but being drunk on board an aircraft is a specific criminal offence.

“People may also not realise that causing serious disruption that poses a risk to flight safety can lead to prison time.”

Flight attendants can refuse alcohol to anyone they believe has had too much to drink.

Flights alcohol planes illegal drunk

Flights and alcohol: It is illegal to be drunk on a plane

Airline staff can also refuse passengers from boarding for the same reason.

It can be very difficult for cabin crew to detect inebriated travellers, which means many fly under the radar.

But according to the BBC, over 387 people were arrested last year on suspicion they were drunk.

The changing cabin pressure means you can also get more drunk on your flight.

Decreased pressure means more difficulty absorbing oxygen, while the dry air can cause dehydration.

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