United joins carriers scaling back in-flight alcohol service
United Airlines this week became the latest U.S. carrier to limit its alcohol service on flights amid reports of unruly passengers on other airlines.
Alcoholic beverages such as wine, beer and hard seltzer will now be served on domestic flights longer than 800 miles. They were previously available for flights over 200 miles.
Both Southwest Airlines and American Airlines announced recently that they would also be limiting alcohol service on their flights. American Airlines said it would not be lifting its suspension on alcoholic drinks until September due to “disturbing situations on board aircraft” in which passengers have allegedly assaulted staff members on flights.
“Let me be clear: American Airlines will not tolerate assault or mistreatment of our crews,” managing director of American Airlines’ flight service training and administration Brady Byrnes told crew members in a letter this week.
Southwest’s head of in-flight operations, Sonya Lacore, said in a letter obtained by CNN last week that “based on the rise in passenger disruptions in flight, I’ve made the decision to re-evaluate the restart of alcohol service on board.”
Most airlines suspended alcohol service after the pandemic hit to limit how often passengers take off their masks and to reduce the number of interactions between passengers and flight attendants.
Heavy fines have been levied against multiple unruly passengers who assaulted flight crew members.
Federal Aviation Administration chief Steve Dickson announced in January that the agency would be adopting a zero-tolerance policy toward bad behavior on flights and would pursue fines and jail time instead of issuing warnings.