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Last Call at the Airport? Britain Considers End to 24-Hour Bar Service

Category: Business,Finance

Britain, proponents said, had to match the availability of alcohol to compete.

But even back then, others saw a huge downside. A traveler who has a meal and an alcoholic beverage at the airport “goes onto a plane perfectly sober and is so for perhaps an hour afterwards,” Somerville Hastings, a Labour Party lawmaker, said in a debate in 1956. “But later, he develops the symptoms of intoxication and becomes a nuisance.”

Being drunk on a flight is illegal in Britain, and endangering the safety of an aircraft is punishable by up to five years in jail.

At the Smithfield Pub at Luton, meanwhile, there was little appetite for changing the law to ban morning drinking. “Surely it’s a bigger problem at night?” said Inese Grinberga, 27, who was heading home to Latvia after traveling the world. “Why stop it in the morning?”

Ms. Grinberga was sharing a beer with a friend. They had decided to drink, she said, after walking past the pub and joking about “all the crazy people with pints at 7 a.m.”

Timmi Clark, 27, echoed the opposition. She was drinking a rose-petal covered gin and tonic while wearing a tiara to kick-start her bridal shower party in Bratislava, Slovakia.

“It’s my hen party, so I’m celebrating,” she said. “But it’s like tradition: You’re on holiday; you have a drink. Why stop that?”

Another person consuming alcohol, Sam Pugh, who was on his way to Athens for a 30th birthday bash, was halfway through a pint of lager. He said that preventing morning drinking would not stop travelers from getting drunk on planes, since passengers can buy booze on the flights.

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