Welcome Guest. Sign in or Signup

5 Answers

Passengers consuming adult beverages in flight

Asked by: 2565 views FAA Regulations

Question I've been wondering...  Is it legal for my passengers to drink alcohol while in flight?

While I understand the obvious reasons why it's probably not ideal to have passengers drink while in flight (safety, etc), out of curiosity, I'm wondering if it's against any regulations to allow a passenger to have an adult beverage to settle their nerves, or enjoy their flight.  Obviously airliners private jets allow this, so not sure why it would be any different for a passenger private/piston aircraft.  Not sure how this would "fly" as far as state open container laws too.

Ace Any FAA Written Test!
Actual FAA Questions / Free Lifetime Updates
The best explanations in the business
Fast, efficient study.
Pass Your Checkride With Confidence!
FAA Practical Test prep that reflects actual checkrides.
Any checkride: Airplane, Helicopter, Glider, etc.
Written and maintained by actual pilot examiners and master CFIs.
The World's Most Trusted eLogbook
Be Organized, Current, Professional, and Safe.
Highly customizable - for student pilots through pros.
Free Transition Service for users of other eLogs.
Our sincere thanks to pilots such as yourself who support AskACFI while helping themselves by using the awesome PC, Mac, iPhone/iPad, and Android aviation apps of our sponsors.

5 Answers

  1. Jarett L on Dec 15, 2013

    Read 91.17 4b

    -1 Votes Thumb up 0 Votes Thumb down 1 Votes

  2. Kris Kortokrax on Dec 15, 2013

    United States Code 49 40103 states”
    “The United States Government has exclusive sovereignty of airspace of the United States.”

    States do not have the ability to regulate what happens in the airspace.

    The big thing to consider is, if you end up in farmer Brown’s field after an accident, what kind of shape would you want your passengers to be in, if if becomes necessary for them to extract you from the wreckage?

    0 Votes Thumb up 0 Votes Thumb down 0 Votes

  3. Wes Beard on Dec 15, 2013

    I think there is a difference between having a small amount of alcohol (the amount of those they serve on the airlnes) and being intoxicated. There are private and corporate jets that have alcohol on board for their passengers.

    The biggest thing that you will have to remember is that the airliners and private/corporate jets are all pressurized. They will typically have a cabin altitude of no more the 8000′ but usually in the 5000′-6000′ MSL range. Most piston airplanes are not pressurized.

    Why is that important? The effects of alcohol are amplified at higher altitudes. If your passengers usually gets intoxicated with 16 ounces of a certain alcoholic beverage at sea level. At 8,000 ft MSL they may only need 8 ounces for the same intoxication level.

    I’m making the numbers up as I don’t know your specific situation but the effects of alcohol increase with altitude.

    0 Votes Thumb up 0 Votes Thumb down 0 Votes

  4. Brian on Dec 15, 2013

    “if you end up in farmer Brown’s field after an accident, what kind of shape would you want your passengers to be in”

    Drunk enough not to know it was my fault?


    +2 Votes Thumb up 2 Votes Thumb down 0 Votes

  5. Bob Watson on Dec 17, 2013

    Airliners have another advantage over most light planes: the alcohol-consuming passengers can’t get into the cockpit. In even a large light plane, it’s hard to keep unruly passengers from interfering with the flight crew once they decide they want to “help the pilot” or play “what’s this button do?” Everyone is different when they’re drunk and not everyone knows what altitude does to their ability to handle alcohol. While someone might be able to hold a 6-pack on terra firma, that is not likely to be the case at 5-10,000′

    Airliners have another advantage over light planes: a potty. All that liquid fun has to go somewhere…

    For me, I’d rather offer to buy a round after we land than serve anything in flight.

    0 Votes Thumb up 0 Votes Thumb down 0 Votes

The following terms have been auto-detected the question above and any answers or discussion provided. Click on a term to see its definition from the Dauntless Aviation JargonBuster Glossary.

Answer Question

Our sincere thanks to all who contribute constructively to this forum in answering flight training questions. If you are a flight instructor or represent a flight school / FBO offering flight instruction, you are welcome to include links to your site and related contact information as it pertains to offering local flight instruction in a specific geographic area. Additionally, direct links to FAA and related official government sources of information are welcome. However we thank you for your understanding that links to other sites or text that may be construed as explicit or implicit advertising of other business, sites, or goods/services are not permitted even if such links nominally are relevant to the question asked.