FAA asking airports around the country to stop selling alcohol to go

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Posted at 5:41 PM, Aug 05, 2021

DENVER — We've been seeing it more and more; airline passengers have lost their patience for flying.

Now, the FAA wants airports to crack down on what they believe is one of the main reasons why: alcohol.

The first sip of beer is why Sammy Martillotta likes getting to the airport early.

"It settles the nerves a little bit, and it lets you fall asleep on the plane," Martillotta said.

During the pandemic, rubbing elbows at the bar was either frowned upon or just not allowed. To keep businesses going, many bars at airports around the country started offering alcohol to go.

"You’re not concerned about missing your plane. You still get to have your final sips," Martillotta said.

The convenience of walking to your gate with your favorite adult beverage is offered at Denver International Airport from gate C23 to C30. Passengers can walk that section of the airport with a drink in hand.

However, too many passengers nationwide were taking the privilege too far.

A letter from the FAA to more than 500 airports around the country says some “passengers believe they can carry that alcohol onto their flights or they become inebriated during the boarding process.”

Bringing your own alcohol to drink on a flight has always been prohibited. Arkansas native Frederick Lee says he’s never seen someone sneak alcohol on planes. He wouldn’t think of bringing it on his flight.

"Simply because they’re not serving it on the plane, why should I bring one?" Lee said.

Drunk passengers acting up has now become a frequent occurrence. Most recently, the 22-year-old who groped two flight attendants and attacked another. Duct tape was then used to keep him in his seat for the rest of his flight.

The FAA says its “investigations show that alcohol often contributes to this unsafe behavior,” which is why FAA officials are calling for the end of to-go alcohol in airports around the country. They're also calling for airport police to arrest more people who are being unruly or violent.

"I think it’s been unnecessary, to be honest. There's always looking to be blamed for something, and I don’t think having a beer before you get on a plane is it," Martillotta said.

A spokesperson for the airport said it would be talking about the request with businesses at the airport.

“We received FAA’s request to suspend to-go alcohol sales. The safety of our passengers and employees is our top priority. We are exploring options and will be discussing this with our business partners,” said Denver International Airport spokesperson Alex Renteria.