Southwest Airlines Bans Alcohol Into 2022

Southwest Airlines Bans Alcohol Into 2022

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If you’re flying Southwest Airlines, don’t expect to be able to purchase an alcoholic beverage until next year at the earliest.

Southwest extends alcohol ban through January 2022

Southwest Airlines has revealed internally that it won’t resume alcohol service until January 2022 at the earliest. This timeline coincides with the current federal transportation mask mandate that’s in place, which currently applies through January 18, 2022 (though it’s very likely to be extended). As a reminder, it’s also a violation of FAA regulations to consume alcohol onboard a flight that isn’t served by the crew, so you can’t bring your own drinks either.

Many airlines cut back inflight service around the start of the pandemic in order to minimize contact between passengers and crew, and maximize the amount of time people have their masks on. The airline was going to resume alcohol service over the summer, but decided to backtrack due to a huge uptick in the number of air rage incidents. In one particular incident leading up to this decision, a passenger assaulted a Southwest flight attendant, knocking out two of her teeth.

Do other airlines also ban alcohol?

Southwest is the only major airline in the United States to have a blanket ban on alcohol. Airlines like Delta, JetBlue, Spirit, United, etc., are once again serving alcohol. The only other airline to have a partial ban on alcohol is American — the airline serves alcohol in first class, but doesn’t sell it in economy.

In the case of American, the airline plans to bring back alcohol when the federal mask mandate for transportation is lifted, so that could be quite a while.

Personally I’m not sure I agree with the logic of American and Southwest, and I say this as someone who almost never drinks on domestic flights:

  • Yes, people are misbehaving horribly on planes, and flight attendants are putting up with a lot
  • That being said, overwhelmingly it doesn’t seem to be alcohol related, but rather seems to involve masks and general divisiveness in the country
  • Is there any data to suggest that Southwest is seeing fewer incidents as a result of its policy than an airline like United, for example?
  • Couldn’t airlines take a middle ground approach and agree to sell passengers one drink? I could see that maybe even leading to fewer incidents, because some people sure act like having a drink may calm their nerves

Bottom line

Southwest Airlines won’t resume alcohol sales until January 2022 at the earliest, which is when the current federal mask mandate currently runs through. Southwest is the only major US airline to ban alcohol entirely, so it’s interesting to see the airline deviating from its peers in this way.

What do you make of Southwest’s continued alcohol ban?

Conversations (15)
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  1. Gayle Lopes

    Having endured flights with sloppy, over-expressive, loud individuals who drink, I find it a pleasant prospect to not have to add that on top of all the other travel stresses at this time... I believe it is a wise move.

  2. Jim

    Some folks feel emboldened after a drink or two and ready to take in flight attendants. I’d be for banning the sale if alcohol in the airport as well. I’ll save my drinking until I’m at my desti

  3. Antonio

    Alcohol isn't the problem. People are. Can't be impossible, surely, to black list individuals associated with any 'rage' incidents for alcohol and ensure they're not served? Such a program would also incentivise people to be civilised.

  4. PeacefulAntiMask

    I bring 50ml minis that I refill at home in a quart bag and then drink them in whatever restaurant I eat in before flight. Selections on flights suck anyway you're not missing much.

  5. Sheila Corbett

    Well from what I can see the average person who is drunk on the plane got drunk at the bar in the airport not from the drinks served on the plane most of the time the rage is before the plane even takes off, they get on the plane agitated so maybe they need to stop serving liquor in the airports but I don’t think they will do that because the airport bars will lose lots money.

  6. Steven Sharoff

    Alcohol has played a very large part in many of the incidents. As someone who does drink on flights, I commend the airline.

  7. David

    It's kind of like in grade school. The whole class gets punished because one or two kids acted up.

    Makes sense....

  8. iamhere

    Why do airlines need to sell drinks they could give at least one included. What's the big deal if alcohol is not served domestically? Do people really need it for a flight of several hours? ....

    1. askmrlee

      4,000 flights/day (peak pre-covid) x $7/drink x 10 drinks sold per flight x 365 days = $102M/year in revenue. You get the idea.

  9. CHRIS

    So one mouthy flight attendant at WN picked the wrong pax to harass and just like that everyone suffers.
    Time to start fighting back.

  10. Don

    Pro tip - get drunk in the airport before you board the flight

    1. Eskimo

      Pro tip - also carry scissors less than 4 inches from the pivot point that is accessible from several positions. It will help you defeat any restraints put on you after you're drunk.

  11. William

    Makes it easier to continue my streak of never having flown Southwest.

    No seat assignments, no booze, and I'll never forgive them for destroying AirTran.

Featured Comments Load all 15 comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Steven Sharoff

Alcohol has played a very large part in many of the incidents. As someone who does drink on flights, I commend the airline.

iamhere

Why do airlines need to sell drinks they could give at least one included. What's the big deal if alcohol is not served domestically? Do people really need it for a flight of several hours? ....

Jerry

You sound sketchy. And not fun at all.

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