And Then There Were None: American Airlines Bringing Back Inflight Alcohol Sales
American Airlines, the last major U.S. airline without alcohol for sale in the main cabin, is bringing back beer, wine and spirts in April.
The airline plans to resume selling drinks and food on April 18, the day the federal transportation mask mandate is set to expire. Alcohol has been available in first class on American since last spring.
“Our customers have expressed that having these options onboard is important to their experience with us,” the airline said in a statement.
American’s inflight booze prices: $8 for beer and $9 for wine and spirits. Snacks will cost between $4 and $6.
Passengers sitting in American’s extra-legroom section, called Main Cabin Extra, will receive free alcohol as they did before the pandemic.
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Airlines stopped selling alcohol early in the pandemic as part of a broad cutback in inflight service to reduce interactions between flight attendants and passengers but many extended the policy due to flight attendant concerns about a rash of unruly behavior.
American planned to resume sales last summer, like some airlines did, but ditched those plans just before Memorial Day.
“Over the past week we’ve seen some of these stressors create deeply disturbing situations on board aircraft. Let me be clear: American Airlines will not tolerate assault or mistreatment of our crews,” Vice President of Flight Service Brady Byrnes said in a May 2021 memo to flight attendants announcing the change in plans. “While we appreciate that customers and crewmembers are eager to return to ‘normal,’ we will move cautiously and deliberately when restoring pre-COVID practices.”
Since then, American has repeatedly delayed the resumption of alcohol service each time the mask mandate was extended.
Are airlines currently serving drinks?
Southwest was the first airline to suspend service, a policy that went into effect on March 18, 2020. The airline had hoped to resume it last summer but delayed those plans while several other airlines went ahead and brought booze back.
The airline planned to resume inflight cocktails, beer and wine in June 2021 but scrapped those plans after a high-profile altercation between a passenger and a flight attendant sent the flight attendant to the hospital.
Southwest started alcoholic beverages again on Feb. 16, leaving American as the last hold out. (JetBlue resumed beer and wine sales last summer but didn’t bring spirits back until this week.)