Disruptive Passenger Crackdown Prompts Ryanair Hand Luggage Alcohol Rule


Ryanair has banned alcohol in hand luggage on a number of routes. The move on select Spanish routes from the UK is designed to stop disruptive passengers onboard aircraft.

Ryanair Disruptive Passengers Alcohol Spain
Ryanair is introducing new alcohol rules for some UK to Spain flights. Photos: Pixabay

According to the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority, around 415 disruptive passenger incidents occur each year. A large portion of these incidents are caused by intoxication from alcohol, which appears to be the reasoning for the new rule. Given the current restrictions on liquids in hand luggage, the ruling will be particularly related to alcoholic beverages purchased in duty-free shops of airports, typically found in the departure lounges.

Ryanair’s new rules

Ryanair has implemented new rules regarding taking alcohol onboard a selection of their flights. This is according to the UK newspaper The Express. According to reports, passengers onboard select flights will be forced to gate check any items of baggage containing alcohol. However, alcoholic beverages sold in duty-free are typically supplied in plastic bags.

Ryanair Disruptive Passengers Alcohol Spain
For the past three years, the number of disruptive passenger incidents has sat at around 415 per year. Photo: Tom Boon – Simple Flying

Despite an Australian man once checking in a can of beer, Ryanair will not accept plastic bags. If passengers are unable to find a suitable container for the alcohol at the gate, they will have to surrender their alcohol. Simple Flying was unable to independently verify whether bags containing alcoholic beverages can be gate checked for free.

The Ryanair rule will reportedly apply to passengers departing from Glasgow, Prestwick, and Manchester airports. It appears as though only Spanish routes are affected. Specifically, the ruling affects typical party destinations which may experience disruptive passengers including:

  • Ibiza;
  • Alicante;
  • Barcelona;
  • Malaga;
  • Palma;
  • Tenerife South.

The Manchester Evening News reported that customers were emailed the following message:


“Boarding gates will be carefully monitored and customers showing any signs of anti-social behaviour or attempting to conceal alcohol will be denied travel without refund or compensation.”

Ryanair Disruptive Passengers Alcohol Spain
The new rules are designed to cut down on the number of disruptive passenger incidents. Photo: Tom Boon – Simple Flying

Why is the rule needed?

Unfortunately, on a number of flights to typical party destinations, passengers can get a little carried away with drinking. This can see them becoming disruptive, and potentially threatening the safety of the aircraft. Indeed, just last weekend a Jet2 aircraft was escorted to Stansted Airport by fighter jets after a passenger became disruptive onboard.


According to statistics from the United Kingdom’s Civil Aviation Authority, disruptive passengers are becoming more of a problem. Indeed, for the past three years, an average of more than one disruptive passenger incident per day has taken place on UK registered aircraft.

While the annual average of disruptive passengers was 186 from 2012 to 2016, it has spiked to an average of 415 from 2016-2018. However, the CAA does note that “the reporting requirements and criteria changed in 2016”. Any action to stop disruptive passengers will surely be welcome in the UK.

Do you think Ryanair’s new rules will have an effect? Let us know in the comments!