The Federal Aviation Administration warned airports across the country to monitor the serving of alcohol, particularly "to go cups," citing a spike in unruly or dangerous behavior involving passengers who drink excessively.
In a Tuesday letter to airport managers, FAA Administrator Steve Dickson expressed his concerns about serving alcohol to passengers in restaurants and bars before flights.
"As the number of passengers traveling has increased, so has the number of unruly and unsafe behavior incidents on planes and in airports," the administrator wrote. "Our investigations show that alcohol often contributes to this unsafe behavior."
Dickson continued: "The FAA requests that airports work with their concessionaires to help avoid this. Even though FAA regulations specifically prohibit the consumption of alcohol aboard an aircraft that is not served by the airline, we have received reports that some airport concessionaires have offered alcohol 'to go,' and passengers believe they can carry that alcohol onto their flights or they become inebriated during the boarding process."
The FAA also suggested that airports could bring greater awareness of alcohol prohibition on flights through "signage, public service announcement, and concessionaire education."
The administrator's letter comes days after passengers duct taped a man to his seat aboard a flight from Philadelphia to Miami after he allegedly groped two flight attendants and got into a physical altercation with another, authorities said.
Miami-Dade County police said the incident happened on a late-night Saturday flight and involved an intoxicated passenger.
The man, Maxwell Berry, 22, was arrested Sunday at Miami International Airport and charged with three counts of battery, according to an arrest report.
For months, the FAA has warned air travelers about what it describes as a dramatic increase in unruly or dangerous behavior aboard passenger airplanes. The agency previously announced it was taking a "zero-tolerance" approach to poor behavior from air travelers. Unruly or dangerous passengers can face potential criminal charges, fines up to $35,000 or lifetime bans on certain airlines.