Russia's flagship airline reversed an in-flight alcohol ban, which it introduced 9 years ago after a drunk passenger tried to hijack a plane

  • Russia’s national airline says it will resume selling alcohol on some flights, according to TASS, overturning a ban brought in nine years ago after a drunk man tried to hijack a plane.
  • In February 2010, Aeroflot said it was banning alcohol in economy class on its worst behaved routes, including from Moscow to Shanghai and Havana.
  • In 2008, a drunk man started a fight and declared control of the plane. The crew and passengers tied him up and locked him in the bathroom.

Russia’s flagship airline, Aeroflot, is resuming alcohol sales on some flights where they had been restricted, reversing a ban it introduced nine years ago to combat in-flight drunken incidents.

Aeroflot said it would put alcoholic beverages back on the menu in economy-class cabins in such flights beginning Friday, the Russian state news agency TASS reported on Thursday.

“On February 1, we plan to return to the menu for economy class, beer on flights of 6 hours in duration, and wine on a number of 3 hour flights,” the airline said Thursday in a press release, according to TASS.

Wine on planeFlickr/Travelling OtterA drink on a Lufthansa first-class plane.

In February 2010, the airline banned alcohol in economy cabins to and from Havana, Moscow, Bangkok, and Shanghai.

At the time, Aeroflot said it chose those routes because they had the worst behaviour related to alcohol. Other cabins were not affected by the ban.

Aeroflot said that in the months after the ban was imposed it noticed fewer “cases of passenger misconduct on board attributed to alcohol intake.”

The airline has a history of alcohol-related incidents involving both passengers and pilots. It stopped giving out free alcohol on flights in 2006.

In January 2008 a drunk Aeroflot passenger flying from Kaliningrad to Moscow started a fight and subsequently declared he had seized control of the plane, according to The Telegraph and contemporaneous reports from eTravel News.

Crew members and passengers eventually tied him up and locked him in a bathroom for the remainder of the flight, The Telegraph said.

In September 2008, 88 people were killed when a drunk Aeroflot pilot crashed his plane in Siberia, The Telegraph reported.

The pilot was in a “mentally unstable condition from the presence of alcohol in his body,” The New York Times reported the Russian news agency Interfax as saying in 2010.

And in December that year, a flight from Moscow to New York was delayed when more than 100 passengers refused to fly because they thought the pilot was drunk.

Aeroflot denied the pilot was drunk at the time, but a new crew took over the flight. “The pilot was tested for alcohol but none was found,” Irina Dannenberg, a spokeswoman for the airline,told The Moscow Times at the time.

It is the largest of Russia’s airlines and transported 56 million passengers in 2018. It flies to 37 destinations worldwide.

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