New Air India Alcohol Regulations – Flying Journals


'Don't be persuaded to have a 'last drink'

Air India has also issued a set of “dos and don’ts” for refusing service. (representative)

New Delhi:

Amid recent incidents of unruly passenger behaviour, Air India has amended its in-flight alcohol service policy whereby the cabin crew has been told to subtly refuse further alcohol service if required.

The Tata Group-owned airline has been penalized by the DGCA for the unruly behavior of passengers on two international flights in the past few days.

Under the revised policy, released Jan. 19, guests are not permitted to consume alcohol unless the flight crew is serving it, and flight crews take care to identify guests who may be drinking.

“The service of alcoholic beverages must be conducted in a reasonable and safe manner. This includes subtly refusing to (further) serve alcoholic beverages to guests,” according to the policy.

Air India has also issued a set of “dos and don’ts” for refusing service.

These require the crew to be polite and avoid value judgments, and to use tact and politeness to inform guests that you will no longer be serving them alcohol.

According to the policy, “don’t call a guest a ‘drunk’ – warn them politely that their behavior is unacceptable” and don’t be persuaded to give them a “last drink” after indicating they’ve had enough.

“Don’t raise your voice. If they raise theirs, lower yours…don’t delay the rejection, take action when the guest can still be reasonable,” the airline said in the policy.

Additionally, it tells the crew that they shouldn’t assume the matter is over just because you’ve addressed the issue verbally. “Managing excessively intoxicated patrons must be done decisively and respectfully,” it added.

While serving alcohol to guests is a practice that has been around for years, the airline says there is, however, a difference between drinking for pleasure and being intoxicated by it.

“Air India authorizes its cabin crew to deny boarding/deny service of alcohol or to remove any unconsumed alcohol in cases where the guest has consumed it himself and there are reasonable grounds to believe that the guest’s capacity to be impaired by the alcohol would cause harm aircraft, persons on board (crew or guests), or the guests themselves,” the policy says.

Serving of alcoholic beverages must be done in a reasonable and safe manner. This included subtly refusing to (further) serve alcohol to guests, the airline said.

It added that guests should not be allowed to consume alcohol unless the crew is serving it, and that it was important that crew take care to identify guests who may have been drinking.

In a statement, an Air India spokesman said the airline had reviewed its existing policy on in-flight alcohol service, taking into account the practices of other airlines and the National Restaurant Association guidelines.

“These are largely in line with Air India’s existing practice, although some adjustments have been made for greater clarity and include the NRA’s traffic light system to help cabin crew identify and manage possible intoxication situations.

“The new policy has now been promulgated to the cabin crew and incorporated into the training curriculum. 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 spokesperson said.

Air India said the NRA’s traffic light system must be used to identify and manage possible intoxication. Under this system, observations of guest behavior can be classified as green, yellow or red.

“The flight crew is responsible for monitoring the guest for signs of excessive intoxication and should observe the guest’s speech, coordination, balance and behavior.

“Observations of guest behavior can then be categorized as green, yellow or red,” it added.

Carrier stresses that it’s important to distinguish between behaviors that may simply be a person’s character traits, such as talking loudly or laughing, and behaviors that may be cultural rather than unruly. It is best to use conflict management techniques to defuse and avoid escalation when dealing with worried, upset or rude clients.

On the ground, the airline said any passenger should be screened for symptoms such as slurred speech, unsteady gait, use of foul language and threatening behavior when boarding the plane. Any such symptoms should be reported to the cabin supervisor/pilot in command.

(Aside from the title, this story is unedited by NDTV staff and published via a syndicated feed.)

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