Booze and air travel – a bad idea or a travelers necessity?

If there is one thing we never seem to have a shortage of here on Gadling, it’s stories that involve drunk passengers misbehaving.

We’ve written about a planeload of 40 drunk Irish, a drunk Russian with an empty bottle of Chivas, a passenger so drunk he beat up his wife and blamed the airline and of course a passenger who drank so much, he killed 5 others (and himself).

Of course, this brings me to the bigger issue; are airlines creating these problems for themselves by refusing to serve some passengers, or should they simply stop service booze on all their flights?

Booze on aircraft is a big thing – it’s often the one time a year when some people get to drink fairly decent liquor and cocktails (assuming they are flying a decent airline and are not in coach), and when booze is free, why hold back?

I actually know several people who fly to drink – that’s right – they cash in their miles, use their elite status to liquor up in the airline lounge, and continue the binge on board. With mileage tickets costing as little as $25, it’s a cheap and efficient way to get hammered.

Some frequent flier boards are regularly filled with outrage when an airline changes its brand of champagne to something less expensive and some folks seem to obsess over the size of the glasses the booze is served in.

Some of the comments in recent booze related articles mentioned that alcohol is a major cash cow for the airlines, but I have to disagree – the expensive stuff is mainly served in first and business class, and is free. And alcohol sales in the back of the plane never really seem to be that high, certainly not on the flights I’ve taken.

So, would you survive a flight without booze? Airlines already banned smoking, so would removing the one final vice be that much of a blow to your comfort level?