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01st Nov 2018

Morning drinking at airports set to be banned

Kyle Picknell

You know the holiday ritual

You’re going on holiday. And because you’re going on holiday, the rule is: that the normal rules suddenly no longer apply.

What does this mean?

It means you can sit and have a pint, no matter what time it is.

Why can you do this?

Because airports, by their very nature, exist as a sort of purgatory, an in-between realm of nothingness. You’re neither here nor there in an airport. You’re just trapped in queues and various different sanitized waiting areas and then some more queues and then the bit where you set off the metal detector despite having no metal on your person and have to take your shoes off and – oh god – you’ve got an odd pair of socks on and this is already the worst start to a holiday ever, worse, even, than the time you forgot your passport and had to race home in a taxi van which the driver almost flipped over at least twice because he was taking the whole situation really, really, far too seriously.

Then it’s duty-free, where you sort of mill about and consider buying all kinds of items that you have absolutely no need for, but again, this is an airport, so suddenly a six foot long Toblerone for £20 is all kinds of appealing. Suddenly you need it in your life.

You’re there, inspecting the bottles of Ciroc, tax-free. You’ve never drunk Ciroc in your entire life.

You’re there looking at all the designer sunglasses knowing full well that you’re going to buy a pair of Rayban knock-offs from the beach-front on your first day for exactly 2 euros.

You’re there, spraying forty kinds of aftershave on your wrist even though you’ve stuck to the same rigorous scent game since you were 14. The Lynx holy trinity. Africa, Voodoo… Java.

Once you’re out of duty-free and into the departure lounge the real magic happens.

You’re four hours early for your flight, obviously, because you’re always four hours early for your flight, because you are one of those people that thinks that flights don’t operate under the normal mechanisms of time and just sort of depart whenever they feel like it, really, so you must get to the airport at exactly 5 am in the morning for a flight at half one in the afternoon “just in case”.

So to kill all this time, all this horrible, valuable, precious time you have given yourself for no apparent reason, you will do one of two things.

You will get a Burger King, because airports are the only time ever you will consider going to a Burger King.

Or you will go to the airport Spoons and sit and have a pint and, officially, begin your holiday.

Some people think a holiday starts when you get off the plane, or into the villa. Kevin Bridges thinks it starts when you go and actually book the holiday, the trip to Thomas Cook a concentrated holiday in itself.

Officially, though, it begins when you sip that first drink in the airport Spoons at a frankly ludicrous hour. Under any other circumstances, four pints and a Jägerbomb by 9 30am would be considered troubling behaviour.

But you’re on holiday. The rules? The rules don’t apply mate. Here, knock back this tequila.

This is just how it is, and it is just how it always has been.

It could all change, this majestic holiday ritual, however, as the Home Office looks set to launch a review of licensing laws in the lost worlds of domestic airport departure lounges which could lead to a crackdown on early-morning drinking.

Should it come into place, it would match the rules that govern high street pubs and restaurants, which restrict alcohol sales before 10 am.

Airlines have been pushing for the move, pointing to a sharp rise in arrests for drunken behaviour on flights. Home Office minister Victoria Atkins has said that disruptive or drunk behaviour on flights is unacceptable.

And it is, she’s right, so just don’t be a tit about it, OK? Have a few while you’re waiting for your flight, sure, but have some food and get a ludicrously priced big bottle of Buxton from WHSmith for the journey.

You’ve got a 14 hour flight to Cambodia to get through.

And that five minutes crammed up against the window on the shuttle bus.

And then you’ll be surrounded by crying babies.

Oh and look, you’re in the aisle seat. You’re always in the aisle seat.

And you will have the food trolley repeatedly smashed into your knees.

And everyone else will instantly fall asleep.

And this is HELL is this cabin. This is HELL. This ham and cheese toastie is SHIT. Why is my Diet Coke so SMALL?

And your ears feel weird.

And you want to go home.

Or back to the pub.

But you’re on holiday, remember?