Russia's flagship airline reversed an in-flight alcohol ban, which it introduced 9 years ago after a drunk passenger tried to hijack a plane

aeroflotAirport staff walk under Aeroflot's Moscow-Havana flight aircraft at Havana's Jose Marti International Airport July 11, 2013.REUTERS/Desmond Boylan

  • Russia's national airline has restarted selling alcohol on some flights, overturning a ban brought in nine years ago after a drunk man tried to hijack a plane.
  • In February 2010, Aeroflot said it was banning alcohol in economy class on its worst behaved routes, like from Moscow to Shanghai and Havana.
  • In 2008 a drunk man started a fight and declared control of the plane. The crew and passengers tied him up and locked him in the toilet.

Russia's flagship airline Aeroflot restarted selling alcohol on some of its flights, reversing a ban it introduced nine years ago to combat in-flight drunken incidents.

Aeroflot said it will put alcoholic beverages back on the menu in economy class cabins from Friday onwards, Russian state news agency TASS reported on Thursday.

The airline said in a Thursday press release, as cited by TASS: "On February 1, we plan to return to the menu for economy class, beer on flights of 6 hours in duration, and wine on a number of 3 hour flights."

wine on planeFlickr/Traveling Otter

In February 2010, the airline banned alcohol in economy cabins to and from Havana, Moscow, Bangkok, and Shanghai.

Aeroflot chose those routes because they had the worst behavior related to alcohol, Aeroflot said in a press release at the time.

The ban also included alcohol bought in duty free. Other cabins were not affected by the ban.

Aeroflot said in the months after the ban was imposed they noticed fewer "cases of passenger misconduct on board attributed to alcohol intake."

aeroflot russia planeAP Photo

The airline has a history of alcohol-related incidents involving both passengers and pilots. It stopped giving out free alcohol onboard in 2006.

In January 2008 a drunk Aeroflot passenger flying from Kaliningrad to Moscow started a fight, and subsequently declared he had seized control of the plane, according to The Telegraph.

Crew members and passengers eventually tied him up and locked him in a washroom for the remainder of the flight, the report said.

In September 2008, 88 people were killed when a drunk Aeroflot pilot crashed his plane in Siberia, The Telegraph reported.

The pilot was in a "mentally unstable condition from the presence of alcohol in his body," The Telegraph cited Russian news agency Interfax as saying in 2010.

And in December that year, a flight from Moscow to New York was delayed when more than 100 passengers refused to fly because they thought the pilot was drunk, and a new crew took over the flight.

Aeroflot denied the pilot was drunk at the time. Irina Dannenberg, a spokeswoman for the airline told The Telegraph at the time: "The pilot was tested for alcohol but none was found."

An Aeroflot Airbus A330 plane heading to the Cuban capital Havana is taxied at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport June 27, 2013. REUTERS/Alexander DemianchukAn Aeroflot Airbus A330 plane heading to the Cuban capital Havana is taxied at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airportThomson Reuters

Aeroflot is also notorious for a 1994 crash in which the pilot let his 15-year-old son operate the flight for a short time, whereupon he disabled the autopilot, and sent the plane crashing to earth. All 75 people onboard died.

It is the largest of Russia's airlines and transported 56 million passengers in 2018. It flies to a total of 37 destinations worldwide.

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