In mid-March, American Airlines set April 18 as the date for bringing back alcoholic beverages in domestic economy. The catch was that this was supposed to coincide with the federal transportation mask mandate ending. With the mandate having been extended, there’s at least some good news for American passengers, as the airline is still moving forward with bringing back alcohol.
American resumes buy on board service on April 18, 2022
American Airlines’ economy alcohol ban will finally be ending. The Fort Worth-based airline will resume the sale of alcohol in economy on domestic and short haul international flights as of Monday, April 18, 2022:
- As of that date, alcohol will once again be available for purchase in economy on flights of over 250 miles
- As before, beer will cost $8, wine will cost $9, and liquor will cost $9
- While the federal transportation mask mandate is now in effect through May 3, 2022, American is still moving forward with bringing back alcohol on April 18
- American will also bring back buy on board food as of that date, on flights of 1,500+ miles; the menu will initially be quite limited, with just chips and nuts, but more food options should be available starting this summer
- Throughout the pandemic American has continued to serve alcohol in first class, so there are no changes there
American is the last airline to bring back alcohol
American is the last major US airline to bring back alcohol in economy. American’s management said early on in the pandemic that the airline would resume the sale of alcohol when the federal mask mandate ends, but of course that has been extended several times. Now the airline is moving forward with bringing back alcohol even though the mandate remains in place.
While I can in theory appreciate where management was coming from, the reality is that other major US airlines have been serving alcohol in economy for many months now. Southwest Airlines was the one other airline that waited to resume the sale of alcohol, but even Southwest brought back the sale of alcohol in February 2022.
A few thoughts about American’s policy:
- It’s interesting that American thinks that first class passengers can handle alcohol without being unruly, while the airline thinks economy passengers can’t
- I can’t help but wonder about the economics of this; on the one hand, airlines make money selling alcohol in economy, but on the other hand American offered free alcohol to Main Cabin Extra (extra legroom economy) customers, so I wonder if it ended up being a wash, or a money-losing thing (if American was making money selling alcohol in economy, I can’t imagine it would have been suspended for this long)
- I don’t think there’s any evidence to suggest that American had fewer unruly passenger incidents than competitors that were serving alcohol
As of April 18, 2022, American Airlines will finally bring back the sale of alcohol in domestic economy, after a more than two year hiatus. This is happening in spite of the fact that the mask mandate is remaining in place beyond that date.
This is long overdue, given that competitors have been selling alcohol for quite a while, without having more issues than American. Buy on board food will also resume, though initially only with chips and nuts of flights on 1,500+ miles. American still has a lot of catching up to do here, but at least this is a step in the right direction.
What do you make of American bringing back the sale of alcohol?