Southwest resumes alcohol sales on flights – to give the customers what they want

Get the latest BPR news delivered free to your inbox daily. SIGN UP HERE

Southwest Airlines (SWA) has announced it will resume alcoholic beverage sales on all its flights beginning on Feb. 16 after having delayed reinstatement in an attempt to reduce the number of altercations between passengers and crew members.

Similar to other U.S. carriers, SWA had limited or altogether suspended food and beverage service on all flights since March of 2020 in what was arguably an unscientific policy reaction to the emergence of the novel coronavirus and which led to diminished revenue for the airline and augmented frustration among its customers.

Initially, the restoration of alcohol sales will apply to flights of 176 miles or more.

“Customers have expressed a desire for more beverage options,” Tony Roach, vice president of customer experience and customer relations said in a statement.

The standard libations of wine, beer, and liquor will be joined by an expanded selection of non-alcoholic refreshments including apple juice, Coke Zero, Dr. Pepper, hot tea, and hot cocoa. No word on if passengers will be allowed once again to keep the little liquor bottles like in the olden days.

Some of SWA’s competitors have already resumed alcohol sales, but the Texas-based carrier has balked at making the change following an industry-wide uptick in unruly passengers (and perhaps also Gestapo-esque flight attendants to be fair) that sometimes led to physical confrontations while in flight.

A spokesman for the airline said Thursday that the decision was driven by customer feedback. However, the union that represents Southwest flight attendants said the move is “unsafe and irresponsible.”

“TWU Local 556 is outraged at Southwest Airlines’ resumption of alcohol sales,” Lyn Montgomery, president of the union, said in a statement. “We have adamantly and unequivocally informed management that resuming sales of alcohol while the mask mandate is in place has the great potential to increase customer non-compliance and misconduct issues.”

The Federal Aviation Administration and flight attendant groups have noted that instances of disruptive and sometimes violent behavior have increased during the COVID pandemic and they cite alcohol consumption as an aggravating factor though it could not be quantified in each case, Fox Business reported.

“We will continue to evaluate 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 service in the main cabin,” the airline said in a statement Thursday.

American Airlines, for its part, has not resumed alcohol sales for economy passengers, but they have done so for passengers willing to pay to sit in their premium cabins as of May 2021.

Southwest Airlines was in the news on a number of occasions in 2021, and usually the news was not good though perhaps sometimes humorous.

As BPR reported in October, during a flight from Houston to Albuquerque, some passengers made “audible gasps” when they believed they heard the unidentified [SWA] pilot say, “We’re heading east at about 107 or 108 mph. Clear visibility, mostly clear skies, about 77 degrees. Thanks for coming out, flying Southwest Airlines, welcome home and remember, ‘Let’s go Brandon.’”

But the airline was also accused of a cover-up the same month after a massive sick-out that was ostensibly in defiance of a vaccine mandate was blamed on reportedly non-existent weather problems.

“Southwest Airlines canceled more than 1,000 flights, 27% of its schedule, on Sunday as disruptions that the airline blamed on air traffic control issues and bad weather affected the travel plans of thousands of customers,” NBC News reported at the time.

Many passengers noted, however, that no other airlines were similarly affected during the Saturday and Sunday in question, belying the claim that weather was the reason for the mass cancellations.

“This is all untrue info. This is not due to weather… All of our flights have been cancelled because employees are walking out due to the vaccine mandate. We were notified at midnight our second flight was cancelled and they won’t allow me to cancel the first leg. On hold 3.5 hrs,” one flier wrote.

Perhaps SWA is hoping that with the resumption of alcohol sales passengers might imbibe enough to forget about those blemishes on the airline’s track record.


Please help us! If you are fed up with letting radical big tech execs, phony fact-checkers, tyrannical liberals and a lying mainstream media have unprecedented power over your news please consider making a donation to BPR to help us fight them. Now is the time. Truth has never been more critical!

Success! Thank you for donating. Please share BPR content to help combat the lies.
Frank Webster


We have no tolerance for comments containing violence, racism, profanity, vulgarity, doxing, or discourteous behavior. If a comment is spam, instead of replying to it please click the ∨ icon below and to the right of that comment. Thank you for partnering with us to maintain fruitful conversation.

PLEASE JOIN OUR NEW COMMENT SYSTEM! We love hearing from our readers and invite you to join us for feedback and great conversation. If you've commented with us before, we'll need you to re-input your email address for this. The public will not see it and we do not share it.

Latest Articles