Southwest Airlines is bringing alcoholic beverages back on planes for the first time since March 2020

PHILADELPHIA — Southwest Airlines is bringing alcoholic beverages back on flights after suspending their sale in March 2020.

Beer, wine and hard liquor will be offered again from February 16, the airline said in A press release.

American Airlines is the only one of the four largest US carriers that has not resumed alcohol sales.

On Southwest, 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.

“Guests have expressed a desire for more beverage options, so we’re excited to reinstate additional onboard offerings as part of the South West hospitality our guests know and love,” said Tony. Roach, Vice President of Customer Experience and Southwest Customer. relations, in the press release.

The union representing flight attendants at Southwest Airlines has said resuming alcohol service is “dangerous and irresponsible”.

Lyn Montgomery of TWU Local 556 says the union has fought the Southwest on the move, saying it’s difficult to enforce the federal mask mandate on flights because it puts flight attendants at risk .

“We have emphatically and unequivocally advised management that resuming alcohol sales while the mask mandate is in place has the great potential to increase non-compliance and customer misconduct issues,” said Montgomery in a statement.

Other airlines have started serving alcohol again

United Airlines resumed hard liquor sales in November.

Delta Airlines took over the beer and wine service to First Class and Delta Comfort+ customers on domestic flights in July 2020, then added alcohol sales in Main Cabin offers on select domestic flights in April 2021.

American Airlines, the last major liquor service reserve, told CNN earlier this month that it had not set a date for the return of booze to its main cabins.

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

Incidents involving alcohol have been among the most serious instances of unruly passenger behavior during the pandemic.

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

Last year was the worst on record for unruly passenger behavior. In early 2021, the FAA announced a “zero tolerance” policy for unruly passenger behavior that ignores warnings or advice and goes straight to penalties, which can include heavy fines and jail time.

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