Southwest won’t resume alcohol service after flight attendant attack
Southwest Airlines has decided to nix its alcoholic beverage sales after a flight attendant was attacked mid-flight, according to an internal memo obtained by CNN.
“Based on the rise in passenger disruptions in flight, I’ve made the decision to re-evaluate the restart of alcohol service on board,” wrote Sonya Lacore, Southwest’s head of in-flight operations, according to CNN.
The airline had originally planned to resume normal alcohol sales in June, according to the news service.
“We realize this decision may be disappointing for some Customers, but we feel this is the right decision at this time in the interest of the Safety and comfort of all Customers and Crew onboard,” a Southwest Airlines spokesman told The Hill.
The decision to postpone alcohol sales indefinitely comes after the passenger who allegedly attacked a flight attendant this week was banned from Southwest.
Vyvianna Quinonez was charged with battery causing serious bodily injury after allegedly knocking out two of the flight attendant’s teeth, according to Port of San Diego Harbor Police Department.
A video of the incident shared to Twitter by CBS showed the attendant with blood on her face after being hit.
Video obtained by CBS News shows the moment a Southwest Airlines flight attendant was punched by a passenger after asking her to keep her seat belt fastened during a flight from Sacramento to San Diego Sunday. https://t.co/gQusevodYC pic.twitter.com/oOYvPdwCFj
— CBS News (@CBSNews) May 27, 2021
Following the incident, employees of Southwest’s workers’ union penned an open letter to CEO Gary Kelly urging him to address the rising abuse against flight attendants.
“From April 8 to May 15, there were 477 passenger misconduct incidents on Southwest Airlines aircraft,” wrote union president Lyn Montgomery. “This unprecedented number of incidents has reached an intolerable level, with passenger non-compliance events also becoming more aggressive in nature.”
In January, the Federal Aviation Administration in January announced a “zero-tolerance policy” due to an increase in passenger-related violence and disorderly conduct aboard aircrafts in recent months.
Since instituting the new regulation, several passengers have been charged or issued hefty fines.
Updated: May 29 at 8:18 p.m.