A new study by global flight search and travel deals website Cheapflights.co.uk has found that 62% of British holiday makers admit to heading straight to the bar as soon as they reach the airport departure lounge.
The research found that Brits deemed 8:00am the earliest acceptable time to have their first glass of beer or wine, and 28% admitted they have had one too many before getting on the airplane. It also showed that the average holiday maker consumed three drinks at the airport bar and a further two alcoholic drinks on the airplane.
However, 76% of those questioned claimed they would never usually drink in the morning but said it was perfectly fine to have a drink to mark the start of their holiday, regardless of the time.
The research also found that 91% of travelers said that they found the whole pre-holiday experience incredibly stressful – with packing (65%), avoiding excess baggage charges (56%) and long queues (46%) emerging as the main problem areas.
The report comes at a time when London Gatwick Airport launched its own ‘Operation Disrupt’ initiative, running until September 30, 2016, which has been designed to clamp down on drunken and rowdy behavior at the airport.
Andrew Shelton, managing director of Cheapflights.co.uk, said, “As we move into peak summer holiday season and excitement builds for many ahead of a well-earned break away, it’s alarming to see the number of people who let it all go as soon as they’re through security at the airport. At any other time, downing three drinks at 8:00am would be unthinkable, but some holiday makers adopt an attitude of ‘It must be after lunchtime somewhere in the world’.
“Gatwick’s Operation Disrupt initiative to police alcohol consumption in its terminals comes into place this week and, judging by the results of this survey, it’s a good thing too. Holidays should be a time to de-stress – but not to the extent that it’s likely to spoil the fun for others, or even risk your own chances of getting away and relaxing.”
When questioned about intoxication levels, 12% of respondents said they, or someone they know, had been told that they could not get on a flight because they’ve had too much alcohol. Similarly, 17% of those asked confessed they had overspent in the departure lounge shops after having one too many, with an average spend of £1,239 (US$1,800).
Donna Dawson, a psychologist commenting on the results, said, “An airport is a place where the normal rules of life are suspended – this is because it is not a ‘real’ place at all, but a transit point between our home and our destination.
“Similarly, there is no real time here as we are often moving between time zones. The stress of packing, getting to the airport and queuing, any anxiety about traveling, and the celebratory mood of going on holiday will all add further emotional impetus to reach for a drink.
“We need to be aware that our need to ‘break loose’ on holiday can undermine our self-control when mixing alcohol with air travel.”