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

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

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.”

View Comments (24)


  1. WildcatYXU

    June 2, 2021 at 6:42 am

    What is American talking about? They’re currently serving a bottle of water per flight in the Main Cabin/Main Cabin Extra. There is nothing to stop.

  2. Boggie Dog

    June 2, 2021 at 8:12 am

    If an airline wishes to not serve alcohol in the entire airplane that is one thing but to only stop serving in one section of the airplane is insulting and disparaging. Very poor customer service message being sent in my opinion.

    Maybe if customers were not treated like cattle the level of anger would decrease! Any person who gets violent should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. No excuse for that type of behavior.

  3. txirish

    June 3, 2021 at 4:16 am

    At least flight attendants can monitor how much each passenger is served. If there’s no in-flight alcohol service, I’d expect a few passengers to have an extra drink or two (or three) before boarding. Others will try to bring alcohol on board surreptitiously. I wouldn’t expect a lot of this behavior, but these will be the people who act out.

  4. nightowlgirl

    June 3, 2021 at 4:23 am

    This just sounds like an extension of their COVID procedure. I’ve been on several American flights this year and they were serving alcohol in first class but water only in coach unless you went out of your way to ask for something else….which they discouraged. I have to mimic Boggie Dog’s comment about treating passengers like cattle. Long gone are the days when airline travel was pleasant.

  5. Athena53

    June 3, 2021 at 5:02 am

    My Ex was an alcoholic who traveled frequently on business. He was typically sloshed before he even got on the plane and was never stopped because he was well-dressed and acted civilized. If the flight attendants over-served someone who’d already been drinking, THAT was the source of the problem. Unfortunate that those of us who like to sip a glass of wine while watching the view form the window seat get punished for it.

  6. crisdee

    June 3, 2021 at 7:29 am

    Are we now not going to see bars at airports as I don’t think and I am no expert on the matter of alcohol and getting buzzed, but perhaps a lot of drinking before the passengers get on the plane is a lot of the issue more so then serving alcohol on the plane. If a passenger gets unruly they should be prosecuted but with the stress of flying are we giving breathalyzers to “possible” problems who seem like they have already had a few drinks or are we sending the message…hey you want a drink buy first class. Have you seen American’s first class prices? Nuts out of Phillie..we can do mint on Jet blue with nicer perks for sure but we like Vegas and they are the nonstop wear the mask the least amount of time choice for us.

  7. Rbt001

    June 3, 2021 at 9:30 am

    On Southwest it’s the entire airplane as there’s only one class of service whereas American along with many other airlines have multiple classes of service which I don’t think the reasonable person would find “insulting” or “disparaging. For more service — typically including complimentary alcoholic beverages — passengers just need to pay more for a ticket in the premium class. Maybe the airlines should DROP “Cattle Class” (aka Basic Economy), increase seat pitch, provide meals to everyone, go back to lavatories that are larger– and of course increase airfares. Much higher fares would divert the “herd” to trains and busses.

  8. BC Shelby

    June 3, 2021 at 10:51 am

    ….economy passengers have been treated like cattle for decades and the incidents “air rage” have not been as frequent as now. . “Coach” (which I often refer to as “Steerage Class these days”) has devolved terribly since deregulation.with seat pitch and cabin service being reduced (in some cases, substantially). Coach used to be more like the “premium” service some airlines offer today (and no luggage fees). Southwest doesn’t help matters with their “cattle call” boarding procedure, which is one reason I don’t travel with them. I like knowing that I have a specific seat in advance particularly these days as almost every trip involves a change of plane somewhere thus increasing the risk of ending up in the accursed middle seat due to a short connect time or if the first flight is late.

    I’ve taken to booking advance purchase first class domestically due to the fact I am tall and suffer from circulatory matters and severe arthritis that makes getting wedged into a set in the rear cabin not only painful but potentially dangerous.. Yes it is a jump, but when I add in the extra fees (like baggage, any onboard food (crikey 10 -15$ for a can of carbonated artificially flavoured beverage, a bag of crisps, a piece of fruit and a stick of cheese) it isn’t much more than going “premium coach” as there are no luggage fees, you get a snack (sometimes light meal on a long flight), and it is far more comfortable as there is no middle seat (since most domestic flights these days are narrow body aircraft kike 737s the the Airbus 320/321 family, even to Hawaii’i).

    That said, most of the incidents which have been occurring recently usually have been over mask compliance. Though I do find it odd that the same doesn’t happen on city buses/trams, intercity buses, and Amtrak where mask wearing is also required (on Amtrak, outside of one’s compartment).

  9. DMIND00

    June 3, 2021 at 11:35 am

    Once in a while I like to have a drink on board. But as stated above American Airlines has been class discriminating against the main cabin passengers, by not offering alcoholic beverages in main cabin but doing so in first class demonstrating that people in first class have more control than coach passengers. If American is going to be fair and honest and not discriminate than they need to stop serving alcohol in first class to. Just because a person is in first class not mean they will not be disruptive. Also knee jerk reaction to a less than 1% being bad to 99% being good is crazy is this what our country has stooped to. Please use common since and these rowdy passengers have probably consumed more alcohol before they boarded the plane. GET to the truth on this. I do not want people hurt but do the penalizing to those who are bad and not those who are good.

  10. apodo77

    June 3, 2021 at 12:20 pm

    This is all so dumb. The mask mandate is what’s contributing to all this not alcohol:

    The Federal Aviation Administration has received roughly 2,500 reports of unruly behavior since the beginning of the year, the administration announced last week. Those include about 1,900 reports of passengers refusing to comply with the federal face mask mandate.

  11. craig44485

    June 3, 2021 at 1:40 pm

    Is there anything but main cabin seats on Southwest?

  12. jamesteroh

    June 3, 2021 at 1:45 pm

    So only the coach cabin has an issue with drunks? I’ve found it to be more of an issue in first where drinks are free. People will just probably start getting drunk before boarding at the club and airport bars now instead.

    And Southwest only has economy section so that means no more alcohol on Southwest. I thought one of the perks of their “business class” was a free dirnk voucher. Are they going to refund the people who bought drink passes that are now worthless.

  13. makfan

    June 3, 2021 at 7:10 pm

    I wonder if the lack of service during flight is causing those who want a drink to drink more before boarding?

    I can take or leave having a drink in flight, but others feel differently about it.

  14. Rob Lipman

    June 3, 2021 at 11:27 pm

    I wonder if anyone has considered that since there’s no alcohol available on most flights, unruly passengers might “tie one on” in an airport bar before boarding…making them that much more unstable before the flight has even begun… For international flights, since a negative Covid test is required almost universally, at the very least soft drinks could be made available…there’s no longer much of an excuse for the virtually complete absence of service. (That’s even more true as limited service has resumed in first class…)

  15. bozacksmith

    June 4, 2021 at 12:57 am

    This doesn’t make much sense from SWA because they still are not serving alcohol on their flights due to Covid so this fight didn’t originate because this passenger got served and was drunk from plane service.

    Just another excuse to cut costs and screw us with increasing airfare now and less amenities.

  16. strickerj

    June 4, 2021 at 8:05 am

    I don’t understand the logic behind discontinuing a service to everyone just because a few people abuse it. And make no mistake, relative to the number of passengers flown, such incidents are actually very rare. This reminds me of of high school when we’d all be punished for something when the administration couldn’t figure out who the real culprit was. It was insulting then and it’s insulting now.

    But I doubt this will last. Alcohol sales are too profitable to discontinue permanently – this is just to give the illusion that they’re doing something until the coverage blows over.

  17. Bowen74

    June 4, 2021 at 1:01 pm

    I would have to agree with Bo Dog, serving one cabin only is a slap in the face to every customer.

  18. swampwiz

    June 5, 2021 at 9:34 am

    I already only consider, out of the USA-flagged airlines, Delta for the transatlantic leg of my trips for its friendly booze policy (I ALWAYS prefer a European-flagged airline, but sometimes it’s not available at the time & price point I want), which matches well with my USA departure/destination @ MSY.

  19. aloha12

    June 6, 2021 at 9:21 pm

    The Southwest reasoning make no sense. They are not serving alcohol now. How did it impact the San Diego situation.

  20. Tailgater

    June 7, 2021 at 8:56 am

    Punish all for actions of perpetrators? I suspect that it’s the mask requirement that begins this increase on on-board violence. As an alternative, I propose that SW Airlines start serving marijuana brownies. This might calm down the idiots who get twisted over having to mask up.

  21. Bluesman62

    June 8, 2021 at 2:48 pm

    In none of the accounts of the incident that happened on WN is there any mention of a link between the unruly behavior and alcohol consumption, whether on the plane or pre-departure. Seems purely like a PR move by WN.

  22. drvannostren

    June 8, 2021 at 3:37 pm

    WTF is wrong with people? Why can’t people have a couple drinks without turning into assholes? I

  23. Sydneyberlin

    June 8, 2021 at 4:25 pm

    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.

  24. Tmpy

    June 12, 2021 at 1:16 pm

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

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