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'high' Flyers Senator proposes 'lifetime ban' for drunken airplane passengers

I think it would benefit all those that travel on holidays on aircrafts. It would certainly help airlines and their staff who really shouldn’t have to encounter that in their daily routine.”

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Timmy Dooley

Timmy Dooley

Timmy Dooley

A Fianna Fáil politician has called for a “lifetime ban” from flying for disorderly airline passengers after witnessing a drunk man “grope” a woman onboard a flight.

Senator Timmy Dooley, who previously served as a TD for Clare, was travelling back to Ireland from Krakow, Poland after a trip to the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv when the incident unfolded.

Mr Dooley explained that four passengers in particular began to tuck into their duty-free purchases while the Ryanair flight was waiting to take off after being delayed for an hour.

“They got quite drunk and quite disorderly as the flight eventually took off,” Senator Dooley told Newstalk Breakfast.

“For those passengers that were with young children and that were seated close to them, they really were very disruptive and a number of passengers were crying. One in particular was groped as she passed by one of the individuals.

“Then they just wouldn’t wear masks. They started walking around against the direction and advice of the stewards. They made it very difficult for the flight attendants.

“I know airlines have their own watchlists and certainly are in a position not to carry passengers who have become disruptive but I think it needs to be wider than that,” he continued.

Senator Dooley praised the flight attendants as “absolutely trained to the highest level” and said that they were “absolutely professional to the highest standard.”

He has now called for action to be taken at a European level to tackle the issue of unruly people who make flights uncomfortable for their fellow passengers.

“I know airlines have their own watchlists and are in a position not to carry passengers who are disruptive but I think it needs to be wider than that,” he said.

“I think at European level - it’s obviously difficult to do it on a worldwide basis - but I think at European level efforts should be made to ensure that individuals like this don’t get to travel again.

“I’d be in favour of a lifetime ban.

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“People change overtime and improve their behaviour and of course you would require the capacity for someone to appeal that at a later stage - people make mistakes early in life and get their act together for sure.

“But I think, as a deterrent, there should be a headline penalty of a lifetime ban from travelling on an aircraft if you’re convicted of behaviour that reaches certain standards and the behaviour that I saw, certainly with three of the four individuals, reached that standard.

“I think it would benefit all those that travel on holidays on aircrafts. It would certainly help airlines and their staff who really shouldn’t have to encounter that in their daily routine.”

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