Southwest to deliver alcohol again on flights, citing buyer demand

Southwest Airways Co. is bringing again in-flight alcohol gross sales after holding off for months to tamp down on disruptive passengers.

On Feb. 16, the airline will restore alcoholic drinks for buy on most of its flights of 176 miles or extra for the primary time since March 2020, when it restricted meals and beverage choices early within the pandemic.

“Clients have expressed a want for extra beverage choices,” Tony Roach, vice chairman buyer expertise and buyer relations, stated in an announcement.

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Whereas another carriers resumed promoting alcohol final yr, Southwest has taken a slower method. The airline stated in Could 2021 that it will delay providing alcoholic drinks once more, citing an industry-wide uptick in unruly passengers on the time.

A Southwest Airways aircraft takes off for flight. The corporate is coping with cancellation points for practically every week in October 2021. (AP Photograph/Wilfredo Lee / AP Photos)

Southwest stated in January that it was contemplating bringing again alcohol within the spring. A spokesman stated Thursday that the choice was pushed by buyer suggestions, and that logistics and provide chain particulars got here collectively to permit for an earlier resumption.

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The union that represents Southwest flight attendants stated the transfer is “unsafe and irresponsible.”

“TWU Native 556 is outraged at Southwest Airways’ resumption of alcohol gross sales,” Lyn Montgomery, president of the union, stated in an announcement. “We have now adamantly and unequivocally knowledgeable administration that resuming gross sales of alcohol whereas the masks mandate is in place has the good potential to extend buyer non-compliance and misconduct points.”

A Southwest spokesman declined to touch upon the union’s remarks.

ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA – OCTOBER 11: A Southwest Airways worker helps a passenger to verify in at a counter at Ronald Reagan Washington Nationwide Airport on October 11, 2021 in Arlington, Virginia. (Photograph by Alex Wong/Getty Photos) (Alex Wong/Getty Photos / Getty Photos)

Disruptive and typically violent conduct by passengers has turn out to be extra frequent previously yr as vacationers returned from a pandemic-induced hiatus. The Federal Aviation Administration and flight attendants teams have stated that alcohol performed a task in lots of incidents.

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American Airways Group Inc., which additionally opted to not resume alcohol gross sales in its financial system cabins final yr, stated it nonetheless hasn’t set a date to deliver it again, though it does provide alcohol in premium cabins.

BALTIMORE, MARYLAND – OCTOBER 11: A Southwest Airways airplane taxies from a gate at Baltimore Washington Worldwide Thurgood Marshall Airport on October 11, 2021 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photograph by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Photos) (Photograph by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Photos / Getty Photos)

“We’ll proceed to guage the state of affairs and work intently with the union that represents our flight attendants, the Affiliation of Skilled Flight Attendants, and medical specialists on this course of to find out after we will return to full service in the primary cabin,” the airline stated in an announcement Thursday.