In the event you had been hoping Southwest Airways would restore alcohol gross sales onboard this autumn, you may be disillusioned. The Dallas-based service is not going to resume onboard alcohol gross sales till a minimum of January 2022.

Southwest Airways Extends Alcohol Ban Into 2022

In a memo despatched to flight attendants by Randall Miller, Senior Supervisor of Inflight Operations, Southwest Airways tied the return of alcohol to the lifting of the federal masks mandate, presently set to run out early subsequent yr:

“With the masks mandate being prolonged to January 18, 2022, there are not any present plans to deliver again alcohol previous to January 2022.”

This marks the second time alcohol gross sales have been pushed again on Southwest. After being the primary service to eradicate all service onboard in March 2020 resulting from COVID-19 fears, the service introduced it might deliver again liquor gross sales in June 2021.

However resulting from an escalation within the incidence of onboard misbehavior by passengers, together with an incident by which a passenger punched a flight attendant, breaking two of her enamel and inflicting different accidents, Southwest delayed the restoration of alcohol gross sales till fall.

On the time, a Southwest spokesperson explained:

“Given the latest uptick in industry-wide incidents of passenger disruptions in-flight, we’ve got made the choice to pause the beforehand introduced restart of alcohol service onboard. We notice this determination could also be disappointing for some clients, however we really feel that is the appropriate determination right now within the curiosity of the protection and luxury of all clients and crew on board.”

However when the Biden Administration ordered the federal masks mandate be prolonged into January 2022, the alcohol ban was prolonged.

Flight attendants contend that alcohol leads passengers to maintain their masks off longer and turn into extra combative onboard.

To that first level, Southwest will add orange juice, cranberry cocktail juice, ginger ale, seltzer water, and tonic water to its drink menu beginning in subsequent month. At present, solely Coca Cola, Weight loss program Coke, 7UP, and water can be found.

Miller attributed the extra drinks to pre-orders that would not be cancelled. All 5 extra drinks represent mixers for alcoholic cocktails.

“With our unique timeline to return alcohol service, we wanted to proactively supply seltzer and tonic water to make sure availability. As a result of longer lead occasions to supply product and different provide constraints we’ve skilled, when our unique plans modified, we nonetheless had an obligation to those suppliers.”

Southwest’s transfer mimics that of American Airways, which earlier introduced it too would proceed to droop onboard liquor gross sales into 2022. In contrast to Southwest, which doesn’t have a firstclass, American Airways serves complimentary alcoholic drinks to first-class passengers.

My Take

Southwest Airways will delay the gross sales of alcoholic drinks onboard until a minimum of January 2022. Whereas it hopes this can lead passengers to maintain their masks on and lower down on poor conduct onboard, it could have instantly the other impact. Not providing alcohol could as a substitute embolden passengers to deliver it onboard in bigger portions or devour larger portions in airport bars previous to their flight, creating the potential for much more disturbances.

Withholding alcohol gross sales creates an surroundings extra more likely to trigger issues since illicit parts can’t be managed and anxiousness of flying is worsened by an absence of entry to alcohol (and snacks).

Nonetheless, that is one opinion I’d be completely satisfied to be confirmed mistaken on…

picture: Southwest Airways

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