“Animal House” Antics in the Airport Terminal

DFW Airport police arrest drunken passengers at least once a week

Passed out in the bathroom? Stripping off clothes? Airport police have seen it all.

At Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, the nation's third-busiest airport, out-of-control and drunken passengers are arrested at least once a week.

Airport police made 78 public intoxication arrests last year. But the number is down from 2007, when 98 arrests were made.

One passenger was found passed out drunk in a bathroom, and another was arrested after trying to throw a ballpoint pen at police, according to police reports.

Last month, officers even arrested a female passenger who was allegedly taking off her clothes at one of the airport gates.

Other travelers are arrested after they become aggressive or combative with flight crews.

Dallas police see similar incidents at Dallas Love Field.

"They're a danger to themselves and others and everybody in the air," Senior Cpl. Janice Crowther said.

Dallas officers made 33 public intoxication arrests at Love Field last year. Some people were pulled off planes after disrupting flights.

"They seem to think as long as somebody else is driving they can do what they want to do," Crowther said.
Many of the drunken passengers are business travelers, not vacationers, authorities say. The travelers start knocking drinks back during long layovers or weather delays -- and then find themselves in jail.

Veteran flight attendants such as Patrick Hancock said they see "totally wasted" passengers all the time.

"More often now it's being stopped at the gate," said Kelly Skyles, of the Association of Professional Flight Attendants. "The agents and customer service managers are catching them right there."

Airline employees are trained to spot people who have had a few too many before they get on board.

Hancock said they look for "people who are unsteady on their feet, people who behave inappropriately for the situation."

Passengers who interfere with flight crews on board planes can end up facing federal charges.

"It can escalate to a security situation, and you don't want to divert to an alternate landing and be arrested," Skyles said.

Flight attendants say it's OK to have fun -- within limits.

"You have a responsibility to the greater society around you to behave," Hancock said. "Know your limitations and follow them."

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