Southwest Airlines Bringing Back Alcohol

Southwest Airlines Bringing Back Alcohol

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Around the start of the pandemic, Southwest Airlines cut inflight service. The airline will finally be restoring full inflight beverage service shortly, including the sale of alcohol.

Southwest full beverage service returns February 16

Southwest Airlines will begin offering an expanded selection of beverages as of February 16, 2022. All of these changes apply to flights of 176 miles or more. Here are the beverages that will be returning to Southwest flights:

  • As far as non-alcohol beverages go, Southwest will bring back tonic water, apple juice, Coke Zero, Dr. Pepper, hot tea, and hot cocoa
  • As far as alcoholic beverages go, Southwest will bring back Miller Lite ($6), Blue Moon ($7), Lagunitas IPA ($7), sparkling wine ($6), chardonnay ($6), cabernet sauvignon ($6), vodka ($7), lime vodka ($7), Jack Daniels ($7), Wild Turkey ($7), Bacardi Rum ($7), and tequila ($7)
  • These new options join current the current beverage selection, which includes Coke, Diet Coke, 7 Up, water, ginger ale, seltzer water, orange juice, cranberry cocktail juice, and coffee

Here’s how Southwest’s VP of Customer Experience and Customer Relations, describes this move:

“Customers have expressed a desire for more beverage options, so we’re delighted to restore additional on-board offerings as a part of the Southwest Hospitality that our Customers know and love.”

This is an interesting development, since just last week Southwest’s Chief Operating Officer stated that the airline wouldn’t bring back alcohol until late in the first quarter or early in the second quarter. That delay was described as being due to the omicron variant, though I’m not entirely sure what alcohol has to do that anymore.

Southwest Airlines is bringing back alcohol

Expired Southwest drink coupons will be accepted

Southwest Airlines issues drink coupons, which can typically be earned either by flying frequently with the airline, or by booking a Business Select fare.

Understandably passengers haven’t been able to use these during the pandemic. When Southwest resumes selling alcoholic drinks, the airline will accept all drink vouchers with a 2020, 2021, or 2022 expiration date. This policy will apply through at least December 31, 2022.

Are other airlines serving alcohol?

Southwest was the only major airline in the United States to not serve any alcohol. Over time there were different justifications for the ban:

  • Initially it was to minimize contact between passengers and crews, and to maximize the amount of time people have their masks on
  • Then it was due to air rage incidents, and the airline thinking people couldn’t handle alcohol
  • Then it was due to the spread of the omicron variant

While I think suspending alcoholic drinks early on in the pandemic was totally fair, it hasn’t made much sense to me since then. Other airlines like Alaska, Delta, and United, have largely restored inflight alcohol service, and I don’t think there’s any data showing they’ve had more unruly passengers as a result.

The only major remaining US airline to still largely ban alcohol is American. American serves alcohol in first class and on international flights, but doesn’t offer it in economy on domestic flight. American executives have said that alcohol service will resume once the mask mandate lifts, though they might have to rethink that, because the mask mandate may be around for a long time to come…

American will be the only airline still banning alcohol in economy

Bottom line

Southwest Airlines will be restoring full inflight beverage service as of February 16, 2022. In addition to a larger selection of non-alcoholic drinks, Southwest is also bringing back alcohol, after a nearly two year suspension. I’m sure frequent Southwest flyers will be happy to see this development, and I think it’s about time (and I say that as someone who very rarely drinks on domestic flights).

What do you make of Southwest resuming alcohol service?

Conversations (11)
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  1. Darla Guest

    I agree with Paul! Bring back the Bloody Mary mix!

  2. Paul Guest

    Why doesn’t southwest bring back Bloody Mary mix?Many customers enjoy them in flight.

    1. R.U. Effingkiddingme Guest

      Seconded!

  3. Jmchurch Guest

    So drunk passengers have been the cause of violence on airplanes? But, before the pandemic, when full service was almost always available, we didn’t seem to have such violent behavior reports. I think the argument should be bring back full service and let’s get back to pre pandemic behavior.

  4. FlyerDon Guest

    I wonder if this is some kind of mask mandate work around. No one is going to wear a mask while they’re nursing a couple of drinks and it’s going to make enforcing the mandate nearly impossible for the flight attendants. Maybe it’s time to make mask wearing optional.

  5. Sober Sam Guest

    somebody's not telling the truth because serving and selling booze when you KNOW drunk passengers have caused major problems in the past is insane. Perhaps offer other drugs for mid air consumption too....sound good? How about a dispensary in every airport and on every plane? How about some input from flight attendants who have been attacked by drunk flyers...especially the one who had teeth knocked out by a. violent passenger?

    1. R.U. Effingkiddingme Guest

      How about prosecute people who can't behave themselves, treat everybody as an adult, and let responsible people enjoy themselves?

  6. George Romey Guest

    Correction AA will bring back alcohol in coach when the FA union allows it-which will likely be never.

  7. KinkyKuwaiti Guest

    Glad to hear that covid can finally handle it's liquor at 35,000ft

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FlyerDon Guest

I wonder if this is some kind of mask mandate work around. No one is going to wear a mask while they’re nursing a couple of drinks and it’s going to make enforcing the mandate nearly impossible for the flight attendants. Maybe it’s time to make mask wearing optional.

1
R.U. Effingkiddingme Guest

Seconded!

0
R.U. Effingkiddingme Guest

How about prosecute people who can't behave themselves, treat everybody as an adult, and let responsible people enjoy themselves?

0
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