Southwest Airlines Brings Alcohol Back On Planes After Nearly Two Years

A Southwest Airlines plane flies past the US Capitol before landing at Reagan National Airport in Arlington, Virginia, US Jan. 24, 2022. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

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Feb. 3 (Reuters) – Southwest Airlines Co (LUV.N) will resume selling alcohol on its flights this month after nearly two years, the Texas-based airline said on Thursday, a pause it extended last year due to a rise in alcohol consumption. in-flight disruptions by passengers.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, US airlines had largely suspended inflight services on domestic flights to avoid passengers having to remove their masks while eating or drinking.

Southwest, which had suspended alcohol services in March 2020 at the start of the pandemic, said it would resume sales of the drinks on Feb. 16.

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Beverages include wine, vodka, tequila and rum on most flights of 176 miles (283.24 km) or more. The airline also said it will add a new line of non-alcoholic drinks such as tonic water, apple juice, Coke Zero, Dr. Pepper, hot tea and hot chocolate.

“Customers have expressed a desire for more beverage options,” Tony Roach, vice president of customer experience and customer relations, said in a statement. (https://bit.ly/3gphhAe)

The union, which represents Southwest Airlines flight attendants, said the move is “both unsafe and irresponsible”.

“TWU Local 556 is outraged by Southwest Airlines’ resumption of alcohol sales,” Lyn Montgomery, president of TWU Local 556, said in a statement when Reuters contacted them.

“We have adamantly and unequivocally informed management that resuming alcohol sales while the mask mandate is in effect has great potential to increase issues of non-compliance and customer misconduct.”

Southwest did not immediately respond to Reuters’ request for comment on the union’s statement.

Southwest’s decision to extend the break on alcohol services last year came after an incident in which a passenger verbally and physically assaulted a flight attendant on a flight from Sacramento to San Diego. read more

US airlines have reported a record number of disruptive and sometimes violent incidents in 2021, and the US Federal Aviation Administration has pledged a “zero-tolerance” approach to unruly airline passengers. read more

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Reporting by Akriti Sharma and Shivani Tanna in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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