Comment: Lufthansa might give alcohol to your underaged child

I was flying with Lufthansa this week, to and from the WHO Europe´s consultation on the implementation of the alcohol action plan. As you know, NordAN has been looking at alcohol and flying issue since the 2012 General Assembly when we adopted a resolution urging airline companies to ban free alcohol. Since then much has happened. Most airlines do not give free alcohol, at least not in economy class. This is mainly probably an economic decision but partly perhaps also because of the growing issue of unruly passengers. Lufthansa stands out. There are free sandwiches and a wide variety of drinks available, including alcohol. For free.

DyK-8uQW0AAGC32Free alcohol is a problem in itself, but if you open it to 16-year-olds, additional ethical problems come to play. In other words, when a Lufthansa takes a class excursion from Vilnius to Frankfurt, these 16-year-olds have to wait until they reach 20 to be able to drink any alcohol in their home country, but they can get a beer and a glass of wine at a Lufthansa flight. The law that Lufthansa’s alcohol policy statement is referring to is understandably German law. A German company, German laws. I would call it an “embassy principle.” Our property, our soil, our rules.

But let´s remember that a minimum age limit for drinking alcohol is set by a country mainly based on health arguments — the health of children. Is a German company really challenging these arguments and principles?

They can argue that it is difficult, if not impossible, to consider all different legislations. Lufthansa is flying all over the world, that is true. But here is a simple solution: stop giving alcohol on your flights.

We will follow this up with Lufthansa, and I will keep you updated on what they will respond.

Lauri Beekmann
Executive director, NordAN