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According to the revised policy sent out last week, amid furore over a drunk man allegedly urinating on a co-passenger on a New York-Delhi flight two months ago, passengers should not be allowed to drink unless served by the cabin crew who should be attentive in identifying guests who might be consuming their own alcohol.
"Air India empowers its cabin crew to deny boarding, refuse service of liquor or remove any unconsumed alcohol where a guest is consuming their own and where there are reasonable grounds to believe that guests faculties are impaired by alcohol to an extent that will present a hazard to the aircraft, to persons on board (crew or guests) or the guest themselves," the policy said.
"Cabin crew are responsible for monitoring guests for signs of undue intoxication and should observe the patron's speech, coordination, balance and behaviour. Observations of the guest's behaviour can then be classified as green, yellow or red," it said, adopting a "traffic light system".
Cabin crew have been asked to be polite and avoid "value judgements" and use tact to cut off passengers from liquor. They must also distinguish behaviour that may simply be a person's personality trait such as talking or laughing louder from behaviour, the memo said.
"Don't call the guest a 'drunk' - warn them politely that their behaviour is unacceptable.. and don't be persuaded to give them 'one last drink' after it is stated that they have had enough," the airline has told its crew.
"Don't raise your voice. If they raise theirs, lower yours... don't put off refusal, act while the guest can still be reasoned with," it said, adding rude passengers are best handled using conflict management techniques to defuse and avoid escalations.
"Managing unduly intoxicated patrons must be done assertively and respectfully," the airline said. The cabin crew should not think "a matter is over because you have verbally addressed it".
In a statement, Air India, said, "We have reviewed our existing in-flight alcohol service policy taking reference from other carriers' practice and input from the US National Restaurants Association's (NRA) 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 recognise and manage possible cases of intoxication," it added.
The Tata group-owned airline has been hit with multiple penalties in the last few days by India's aviation regulator in connection with the unruly behaviour of passengers onboard two international flights and lapses in how the airline handled the incidents.
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