What is it about airports that makes people want to drink alcohol at all hours of the day? – Susan Dalgety
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I am constantly amazed at the number of otherwise sensible people I know who post snaps of their early morning cocktail or pint of IPA as they wait to board a 6am flight. What is it about airports – those brightly lit hangars from hell – that turn people into early morning drinkers? It’s all I can manage to down a double espresso before boarding a flight, but it seems I’m outnumbered.
The Starbucks branch at Edinburgh Airport has just had its application to serve alcohol from 5am rejected by the council’s licensing committee. It can still sell drink from 10am through to midnight, which came as a surprise to me, as I wasn’t aware that the coffee chain was in the habit of selling booze. I must check out the one in my neighbourhood.
One councillor was worried that hordes of daft young things would board the 100 bus to the airport and head to Starbucks for a pre-breakfast drink. An unlikely scenario. But I did agree with Councillor Chas Booth, who moved refusal on the grounds of public health and public order. He said he was concerned about “encouraging people to pre-load” before getting on a flight.
As there is a Wetherspoons pub at the airport (next to Gate 10 if you’re planning a pre-flight bevvy), a ban on Starbucks selling breakfast booze will not stop early morning pints. But the council’s decision does make an important point.
Safety should come first at airports and on planes. Even RyanAir, whose business model seems to be based on extracting as much money as possible from its passengers, including selling drinks on board, wants to call time on airport drinking. After a 2018 flight from Dublin to Ibiza had to be diverted to Paris because of drunk passengers, the airline said airports must curb excessive drinking before flights. I will drink to that – but with a caffe grande, no milk, if you don’t mind.