Unexpected Dynamics Unfold On Hawaii Flights With New Fees

Drunken Incidents on Hawaii Flights Rekindle Safety Concerns

The possible reasons for this week’s Southwest Hawaii flight may be coming to light. It’s something you don’t expect on a plane, especially one where most people are looking forward to a Hawaii vacation. But something happened on that plane between a Kauai resident and a visitor and the violent behavior is clear.

As Hawaii travelers grapple with the aftermath of this unsettling event, and reminds us of other incidents, it underscores the importance of mutual respect and adherence to airline protocols to prevent similar incidents in the future.

An announcement on our own Southwest flight Monday was telltale.

When Beat of Hawaii editors flew Southwest from Kauai on Monday, the flight attendant announced, “If there is any unwanted behavior on this flight, please notify a flight attendant.” We never heard this kind of announcement on Southwest before, and it came after the incident occurred and just before Flight 1288 landed on Kauai.

Comments on social media may point to drunkenness as well as violent behavior.

When we first reported on the story, the reason for the fight had not been released. We are now learning more after the family and friends of one of the men started discussing it on Instagram. While the first comment appears to be from his daughter, we are not able to verify if that is true.

One person on Instagram said, “Those are my parents… That man against the window was drunk before getting on the plane, and they sat him next to my parents. The flight attendant continued serving him alcohol but was skeptical about it and, at one point, even asked my mom if she thought it was okay to get him another drink. My mom did not know this man, and why the flight attendant asked HER if the man could have another drink is beyond me. Shame on that flight attendant, truly. The man kept leaning into my mom and being obnoxious. My dad asked the man to stop…(he) got mouthy and stood up and attempted to swing over my mother, so of course my dad got defensive as any man who loves his wife would.”

One flight attendant on Instagram commented, “It is against Federal Air Regulations to board an intoxicated passenger. They need to hire an attorney. The airline is at fault if boarded intoxicated.”

Someone else said, “He was left with no other alternative when the FA continued serving the other guy alcohol. I am sure my husband would defend me under the same circumstance, and my husband is also a straight up good man.”

Someone else replied, “the only context you need is that a sober man decided to beat on a guy who was obviously inebriated. Yes, what the drunk did was offensive, but the guy was already backed to the wall of the plane and hunched over due to the bulkhead. any “extracurricular” punches thrown after that (and pictured) in the video was not necessary and not in self-defense. not saying the guy didn’t deserve it, but not gonna say the ongoing reaction was justified.”

While another person commented, “Why on Earth wouldn’t the husband sit next to the drunk guy and have his wife sit next to the window??? 🤷‍♂️

Should airlines serve alcohol to passengers who appear drunk?

The issue of airlines serving alcohol to intoxicated passengers is a big concern for both the airlines and for passengers’ safety. If you act out on an airplane, you can face criminal prosecution and fines up to $37,000 per violation, according to the US DOT.

We’ve had our own experiences, and you may have as well. Ours have never reached the point of assault as occurred earlier this week. In our case, the United Airlines flight attendant refused to serve alcohol to two passengers on a flight from Kauai to Los Angeles. She kept everything calm and de-escalated the situation with passengers who clearly appeared to be intoxicated. In another situation, editor Jeff was seated in first class on a flight to Hawaii when the passenger seated next to him was an off-duty flight attendant. She was served alcohol for the entire duration of the flight, although appearing to be intoxicated.

Airlines have a responsibility to ensure the safety and well-being of passengers, including monitoring alcohol consumption and preventing passengers from becoming intoxicated. Flight attendants are trained to assess passenger behavior and intervene when they suspect someone is intoxicated or is becoming disruptive for any reason.

We welcome your comments on this.

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26 thoughts on “Drunken Incidents on Hawaii Flights Rekindle Safety Concerns”

  1. If intoxication issues continue to escalate, airlines across the board need to unite and remove alcohol from All flights. Passengers already drunk may not board another flight for 24 hours or until sober. Period. With the return of traveling by jet, the behavior on board and in airports has gotten so out of hand, we choose to not fly. I truly miss Maui, the wonderful residents, and friends there.

    1. Why such drastic answer for millions of flights and fliers? And you’re also giving a 24 hr window? How do you expect this to be monitered realistically? Just make sure f a.s know they can refuse and encourage that if a oerson is acting “off” rather than maje a sweeping, unilateral decision for all people because of one idiot?

  2. With so many inflight intoxicated Passengers in recent months, it may become necessary to begin at the TSA checkpoints to start make Alkohol checks before boarding all Passengers on Transpacific flights, including to all Hawai’i Islands. Airplanes should not be considered Boxing Galleries.

  3. Part of this his story that doesn’t make sense is she says”they sat him next to my parents”. WN doesn’t assign seats and people choose their own once on board

  4. Establish minimum Mandatory fines and jail sentences for conviction—the courts (according to the articles I’ve read) pass out slaps on the wrist. Stop serving alcohol away from meals (you really need to sell drinks on an inter island flight?). Fine the airlines when intoxicated passengers are allowed to board. Give the husband who beat on the drunk free miles.

  5. Southwest has used the “unwanted behavior” in its announcements for at least the last 3-4 years. Was a weekly Southwest flyer for many years.

  6. We were on Southwest flights to and from Kauai in late January and FA’s made the same announcement regarding “unwanted behavior etc” then. In fact I first noticed this announcement being made pretty regularly after I started flying on the mainland on Southwest again after the pandemic circa mid 2022.

  7. there are no seating assignments on southwest so if the only seats available the ones that the husband and wife had it cannot be assumed that they were allowing the seating the way it was. sadly the intoxicated individual was allowed to be as obnoxious as described, the fault lies with the flight attendant and the airlines not the couple that were forced to deal with this individual

  8. Oh I have a comment. I am a Maui resident. I fly often to the Mainland then back home. Try look at the big picture: More aloha, less human stupidity. I am a retired lawyer and this whole unnecessary fiasco might well end up in litigation. To no one’s benefit.

    Can’t we all just find a way to rediscover our manners? Please?

  9. Simple, stop selling alcohol at the airport and on the planes.
    Solves 99% of the problem.
    Much safer for flight attendants and travelers.

    1. Again you demand rules change for yourself. God help who sits next to you. You’ll probably tell them if their toothpaste in their purse isn’t spearmint you will have them removed from the flight. Now if u have alcoholic relative u can’t blame everyone else.

  10. I would never fly that airlines. Most of their FA do what they want and don’t follow their own guidelines. Front desk me I could bring my violin in hard case instead of carry on, then FA refused and argued and told me if I didn’t like it, I would be ejected. Double standard, depending on which passenger the FA likes. And I never threatened anyone.

    1. Some people it helps, if they are petrified. Don’t say drive there lol. But the guy got On The Plane drunk #1. #2 not everyone is obnoxious. This is one flight out of thousands every day.

  11. I do not believe that alcohol should be served on flights. One person always messes it up for all of us, but no one Needs alcohol. I never understand why people need to eat or drink alcohol on shorter flights. Hawaii is longer so food is important for many, but i dont need anything but water. There are just too many difficult personalities anymore, so it would behoove the airlines to discontinue alcohol service! period.

    1. So why should one person be allowed to “mess it up for everyone else”? Thosands of flights, millions of people, they all don’t get plastered if they drink on a plane, much less become obnoxious. And this guy got on drunk. Next you’ll say they can’t serve wine at restaurants within 20 miles of airports?

  12. I was a stewardess on Delta 50 years ago. We were instructed not to serve any passenger alcohol who appeared to be drunk. The problem is that some people hide it pretty well.

    1. I’d save your money. Many sober people have no issue standing up for family members. That drunk learned a lesson he’s not likely to forget and some folks only learned the hard way.

  13. Pre-Flight breathalyzer test.

    Before being served alcohol at airport bar you must surrender your boarding pass then sign a waiver stating that you will submit to a breathalyzer test at time of closing your tab. If you test 0.10 or above your boarding pass is revoked.

    You can either re-test at $20.00 per test or chose to re-book your flight.

    As per serving alcohol on flights sole responsibility for over serving a passenger falls on airline, no different then a bar. If a passenger is arrested found to be over 0.10 limit airline is fined 50K.

    Problem solved.

  14. The consequence for such egregious behavior that punishes and costs passengers and the airlines should be a lifetime ban on air travel. It would be a great deterrent to violence and other behavior that disrupts a flight. A Lifetime Ban is what these miscreants deserve.

    1. Guy, I agree. Its aggravating that we are afraid of offending others and in return, there is so much havoc everywhere. People need to start paying the price for their miscreant behavior! It’s all out of hand.

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