Southwest Airlines Alcohol Policy Returns on Flights After Sales Suspended Due to Unruly Passengers

Southwest Airlines is bringing alcoholic beverages back to flights this month after sales were suspended in March 2020.

The video shown is from a previous report.

Beer, wine and spirits will be offered again from February 16, the airline reports in a press release.

American Airlines is the only one of the four largest U.S. airlines that has not resumed alcohol sales.

At Southwest, the non-alcoholic beverage service will also be expanded on February 16 to include options such as tonic water, Coke Zero, and hot chocolate.

Beverage service is available on flights of 176 miles or more.

“Customers have expressed a desire for more beverage options, so we’re excited to reinstate the additional onboard offerings as part of the Southwest hospitality our customers know and love,” said Tony Roach, vice president of Southwest Customer Experience and Customer experience. relations, in the press release.

The union representing Southwest Airlines flight attendants says resuming alcohol service is “unsafe and irresponsible”.

RELATED: ‘It’s not my job to manage you’: Flight attendants approach breaking point with unruly passengers

Lyn Montgomery of TWU Local 556 says the union has fought against Southwest along the way, saying it is difficult to enforce the federal mask mandate on board flights because flight attendants are at risk.

“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,” Montgomery said in a statement.

Other airlines are serving alcohol again

United Airlines resumed liquor sales in November.

Delta Air Lines resumed serving beer and wine to First Class and Delta Comfort+ customers on domestic flights in July 2020, and added alcohol sales back to the Main Cabin offering on some domestic flights in April 2021.

American Airlines, the last major alcohol service company, told CNN on Friday it has not set a date for the return of alcohol to key cabins.

“We will continue to evaluate the situation and work closely with the union representing our flight attendants, the Association of Professional Flight Attendants and medical experts in this process to determine when we will return to full service in the main cabin,” the airline said. said in a statement.

RELATED: FAA urges airport police to arrest more people following chaos from Philly to Miami flight

Alcohol incidents were among the most serious cases of unruly passenger behavior during the pandemic.

In November, the Federal Aviation Administration proposed a total of $161,823 in fines to passengers involved in alcohol-related incidents.

Last year was the worst year for unruly passenger behavior. In early 2021, the FAA announced a “zero tolerance” policy for unruly passenger behavior that skips warnings or counseling and goes straight to penalties, including hefty fines and jail time.

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