Air India Change its Alcohol Service Policy, Allowing Cabin Crew to Refuse Service if Necessary

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Air India, the Tata group-owned airline, has modified its in-flight alcohol service policy following recent incidents of unruly passenger behaviour. The new policy empowers cabin crew to tactfully refuse to serve alcohol if necessary.

It is important to note that the airline has been slapped with penalties in recent days by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) for reporting lapses in unruly passenger behaviour on two international flights.

Air India Revised Alcohol Service Policy

The revised policy states that guests should not be permitted to drink alcohol unless served by the cabin crew and that the cabin crew should be attentive to identifying guests who might be consuming their own alcohol.

“Service of alcoholic beverages must be carried out in a reasonable and safe manner. This includes tactfully refusing to (further) serve a guest alcohol,” according to the policy.

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In a statement, an Air India spokesperson said the airline reviewed its existing in-flight alcohol service policy, taking reference from other carriers’ practice and input from the US National Restaurants Association’s guidelines.

“These were largely in line with Air India’s existing practice, though some adjustments have been made for better clarity, and NRA’s Traffic Light system included to help crew recognize and manage possible cases of intoxication.”

The new policy has now been promulgated to the crew and included in training curricula. Air India remains committed to the safety and well-being of its passengers and cabin crew, including but not limited to the responsible service of alcohol.

Air India Empowers Cabin Crew to Tactfully Refuse In-flight Alcohol Service in Revised Policy

  • The revised policy states that guests should not be permitted to drink alcohol unless served by the cabin crew and that the cabin crew should be attentive to identifying guests who might be consuming their own alcohol.
  • Air India has issued a set of “do’s and don’ts” for service refusal, including being polite and avoiding value judgements, using tact to inform the guest that they will not be served any more alcohol, and not calling the guest a “drunk”.
  • The policy states that “managing unduly intoxicated patrons must be done assertively and respectfully,” and that cabin crew should not think the matter is over once they have verbally addressed it.
  • Air India has also included the US National Restaurants Association’s Traffic Light system in the new policy to help crew recognize and manage possible cases of intoxication.
  • The airline has emphasized that it is important to distinguish behaviour that may simply be a person’s personality trait from behaviour that might be a result of cultural background or unruly behaviour.

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