While those accustomed to plastic water bottles are enjoying using airports as a stop-off before they fly, an Ohio lawmaker wants an exception to that rule for those who prefer to imbibe responsibly before a vacation. “We find at American airports and others that there are folks who carry at least some amount of alcohol. We’re seeing more and more of that,” Ohio Rep. Joyce Beatty, an African-American Democrat from
Columbus, told The Associated Press last week. “… I think people who are bringing alcohol into our airports need to be treated differently. We’re talking about keeping them from touching infants, we’re talking about keeping them from touching anyone. If they want to bring alcohol into the airport, they need to do it elsewhere.” Beatty plans to introduce a bill prohibiting “booze-to-go” at U.S. airports. Her office
said she’s seeking co-sponsors, and the office of U.S. Rep. Jim Himes, a Connecticut Democrat, said he’s also backing the effort. The bill is currently circulating. Over the years, small airports in the Northeast have grown into hubs with some of the busiest passenger traffic. In the past, agents saw an influx of travelers from the Hamptons and the Hamptons Country Club before Memorial Day and from beyond the East
Coast around Labor Day, but the volume has escalated as the tourism season kicks off in early spring, Beatty’s office said. She said she was inspired to sponsor the bill after her family’s Thanksgiving visit to a U.S. Navy base in Colorado Springs, where a few young men – some with “expansive, liberal attitudes” – kept her family awake in the middle of the night with their loud conversations. While the men knew the
rules on bringing alcohol on board, they had been drinking. Some airports have banned booze, including at Philadelphia International, Logan International in Boston and DFW in Dallas. But the few that don’t are often overlooked. “Our passengers are going to go somewhere to get a meal or purchase some frozen yogurt or buy some ice cream and we’re sometimes not out in front, and that’s a problem,” said Las Vegas Mayor
Carolyn Goodman, a former Clark County commission chairwoman. “I hope it would never happen in our airport.” Beatty’s office pointed to two new Florida airports with loose rules about alcohol: Boca Raton Regional in Boca Raton and the Ft. Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport. Both have passed local bylaws requiring travelers to be 21 years old. Beaton, who opposes bottle bans, said she’s told her airport to
respect the authority of the federal government on alcohol and stop any excessive beverage purchases at the rental counters. While Beatty said she doesn’t want to prevent anyone from enjoying a beer or glass of wine at the airport, she believes this exemption should be allowed at very low levels. She said she is aiming to raise money to issue a public service announcement that would play before people check in.