Monday, November 29, 2021

A lawyer’s US crusade for airport alcohol bans

An American lawmaker has proposed that airports ban alcohol “to go” in order to reduce alcohol-related injuries and fatalities.

Republican representative Peter King argues the U.S. needs to step up efforts to ban booze at airports.

Many areas on the streets of America’s major airports, such as the Xperience bar in Miami International Airport, currently contain high concentrations of liquor, having been smuggled or purchased by strangers during airport security.

This alcohol-related incident, referred to by those who experienced it as a “to go”, tends to recur in the early evening or after hours, resulting in more severe alcohol abuse and injury. On average, more than 2,000 people are hospitalized every year due to alcohol-related incidents. According to a study by Cambridge University, the level of alcohol-related incidents is three times higher in major U.S. airports than in small airports.

Virtually no additional measures were put in place to address these injuries and fatalities in response to the increased number of alcohol-related incidents. It is not unusual for managers in major airports to receive verbal warnings from supervisors for allowing alcohol to be sold and consumed on-site.

Now Representative King has proposed a bill that aims to ban alcohol “to go” at the country’s leading airports. The effort was made after a recent Facebook post in which King, who represents a number of airports and contains city airports in his district, found himself commenting on a news story that reported on yet another sad incident at an airport that had sought to ban alcohol but was overruled by federal authorities.

In the post, King said airport managers should learn the lesson of airports where alcohol has been banned and the negative consequences that result. According to Wikipedia, King “was severely admonished by the National Transportation Safety Board for unethical lobbying in the 1980s.” He also has a part-time job as a columnist for Newsday, a New York City newspaper.

The Facebook comments spurred several airports to ban alcohol sales, such as Sydney and Philadelphia.

If effective, alcohol bans in airports could prevent many traffic and health incidents. Large numbers of people flying in and out of the country are over-indulged in alcohol before boarding the plane.

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