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16 Jan, 2008 05:07

No Vodka on board – Russians in panic!

Alcohol has been banned by many Russian airlines, but while the move may be good for air safety many passengers are uncomfortable about the idea.

A few strong drinks, someone taking exception to a comment by another and then it’s easy for a brawl to start at 10.000 metres.

“It was very frightening – during almost all of the ten hour flight it was a real fight between several drunk men. And there was blood split. There were two of them who suffered serious head injuries- the blood was everywhere,” remembers Olga Dubrovskaya, a passenger during one incident.

For years air marshals have been a feature on board U.S. flights. They are trained and prepared for almost any extreme situation, which could occur.

On Russian planes the only people who are in charge of resolving such incidents are flight attendants, most of whom are women. They are not allowed to have weapons and so have to use anything close to hand if something happens.

“In foreign countries crews are equipped with special weapons, which can be used to calm down enraged passengers. Crews of Russian planes are not equipped like that,” Arkady Matveev, the head of Transaero's Service Department.

Russian authorities are discussing the possibility of having policemen on board planes. But such a law has not been passed yet.