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American and Southwest Go Dry, While Delta Plans Airline-Exclusive Beer

After a Southwest Airlines flight attendant was assaulted by a passenger, both the Dallas-based airline and cross-town rival American Airlines say they will not serve alcohol in the main cabin. Meanwhile, Delta is working with SweetWater Brewing Company to launch an airline exclusive.

Airlines are once again splitting on service, with two saying they won’t serve alcohol and another coming up with their own brew. Both Southwest Airlines and American Airlines are declaring prohibition in the main cabin, while Delta Air Lines is working on an airline-exclusive beer.

Main Cabin Prohibition Comes After Southwest Flight Attendant Gets Assaulted

For Southwest, the issue comes after a flight attendant was assaulted onboard an aircraft by a passenger, causing serious injuries to the employee. According to NBC San Diego, the crewmember suffered facial injuries and lost two teeth after the altercation. The Port of San Diego notes 28-year-old Vyvianna Quinonez was arrested when the flight landed for battery causing serious injury, while the employee was taken to the hospital.

As a result, Southwest says they will pause serving alcohol in the main cabin for the near future. In a statement to The New York Times, a spokesperson for Southwest announced the prohibition is the direct result of the “recent uptick industrywide of incidents in-flight involving disruptive passengers.” The Dallas-based carrier did not indicate if it would be a temporary or permanent change.

Across town, American Airlines is making a similar commitment. In a letter viewed by CNN, airline managing director of flight service Brady Byrnes announced American would also stop serving alcohol in the main cabin until at least Sept. 13, 2021, when the Transportation Security Administration face covering rule is set to expire.

“We also recognize that alcohol can contribute to atypical behavior from customers onboard,” Byrnes wrote in the letter, according to CNN. “And we owe it to our crew not to potentially exacerbate what can already be a new and stressful situation for our customers.”

United Plans on Continuing Alcohol Service, While Delta Plans Exclusive Beer Launch

As it currently stands, American and Southwest will stand alone in declaring dry flights. In a statement to CNN, United Airlines said they would serve alcohol on flights longer than two hours in duration, while Delta Air Lines is partnering with SweetWater Brewing Company to offer a beer exclusive to the airline. The brew, SweetWater Elevated H.A.Z.Y IPA, launched over the Memorial Day weekend and is “formulated specifically to be enjoyed at 35,000 feet.”

mvoight June 21, 2021

Not clear why someone described Southwest boarding as "cattle call". Everyone has an assigned space in line, and board in an orderly fashion, not like AA where group 8 likes to stand at the gate entrance, and block all groups before 8.

shipcamein June 21, 2021

Rob Lipman is 100% right - I don't know why more comments aren't aimed at this , and more airlines responding. We know there's no booze on the plane, and I only have a 40 minute layover so I (for instance...hehehe...) chug three vodka martinis while waiting in the boarding line. Yup. You can get them to go. In the past, ya had maybe a beer, knowing that if the "urge" came up - you'd just buy another on the plane. Does this explain the uptick on other airlines? You betcha - no one knows all the policies, and just can't take that chance. Chug chug chug. The airlines actually created this one all by themselves, and it was entirely predictable. For those of you that don't drink, or do so in moderation, or are underage, and so on - you are part of the huuuuge percent of passengers that are not creating a drunken problem. It only takes ONE per several thousand flights that make it look like an epidemic.

disalex June 21, 2021

If this was really the reason they would simply set a 1 or 2 drink limit. The real reason is the airlines are enjoying saving money.

Tmpy June 12, 2021

This sounds like a big excuse to me to cut down on service.

Sydneyberlin June 8, 2021

Generally a bad idea to panelize everyone, just because some morons can't handle their alcohol. But I see that First class passengers still get served booze so it doesn't really affect me as I generally don't fly in the back of the bus. Especially not if flying with a US-based carrier.