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Another Airline Asks Passengers to Stop “BYOB” Attitudes

Another Airline Asks Passengers to Stop “BYOB” Attitudes
Joe Cortez

United Airlines will become the second major American carrier to ask flyers to not bring their alcohol aboard aircraft. In a memo sent to flight attendants, crews are reminded that passengers are not allowed to consume their own alcohol “under any circumstances.”

Another airline is experiencing problems with flyers bringing their own alcohol aboard aircraft, and is asking flight attendants to put a stop to consumption. Industry blog Paddle Your Own Kanoo reports United Airlines is the latest carrier to declare total prohibition on flights.

Flyers Cannot Consume Personal Stash of Alcohol “Under Any Circumstances”

Since the COVID-19 pandemic reached a head in March 2020, United has scaled back their in-flight services. The Chicago-based carrier now offers sealed beverages upon request, with coffee and tea on domestic flights leaving before 9:45 A.M. Alcoholic beverages are only complimentary in premium cabins, while wine and beer are complimentary in economy on long-haul flights.

But as the airline has clawed back on services passengers took for granted, some are taking the issue into their own hands. In an internal memo from the Association of Flight Attendants – CWA viewed by the blog, the union notes that more flyers are bringing alcohol aboard flights, and that they are not allowed to consume them “under any circumstances.”

“These health precautions have curtailed several service options on many of our flights, including the offering of a variety of choices in alcoholic beverage options,” the memo reads, according to Kanoo. “With this reduction in service some passengers have developed a misunderstanding that, in place of what is offered for sale onboard, they can simply bring their own supply onboard.”

When flyers are caught trying to pour their own drinks, the union asks them to confront the situation. Once again, it is not clear if the flyers will be reported to law enforcement upon landing, or if they will be banned from flying with the carrier.

Consuming self-supplied alcohol aboard aircraft is against federal law. The law states: “No person may drink any alcoholic beverage aboard an aircraft unless the certificate holder operating the aircraft has served that beverage to him.” Moreover, the law states that airlines must report to the Federal Aviation Administration “the refusal of any person” who is asked not to consume their own alcohol.

“BYOB” Becoming A Bigger Problem Among Airlines

As airlines pull back offering beverage services because of the COVID-19 pandemic, airlines say they are seeing more incidents where flyers are bringing their own alcohol. Southwest Airlines is now reminding passengers during the safety briefing not to consume alcohol they brought on board, while American Airlines say they have seen “an uptick” in incidents on aircraft.

It is unknown if any flyers have been arrested, prosecuted, or banned from flying due to breaking alcohol laws aboard commercial aircraft.

View Comments (27)


  1. OZFLYER86

    August 6, 2020 at 11:11 pm

    far out, just sell them the booze they want. Maybe premixed spirits, beer & wine & no open containers. If you’re handing out water & snacks, what’s the difference ?

  2. merrickdb

    August 7, 2020 at 2:01 am

    One correction: you state, “Consuming self-supplied alcohol aboard aircraft is against federal law.” That’s not technically correct. The law, as you correctly quote in the subsequent sentence, prohibits consuming alcohol that isn’t served by the airline. You can consume self-supplied alcohol if you have a flight attendant serve it to you. Historically, some airlines have been willing to do this under some circumstances.

  3. Marathon Man

    August 7, 2020 at 4:11 am

    Well if they started serving premium ipa from good breweries…

  4. Caribgrl

    August 7, 2020 at 4:23 am

    I mean if you can’t go a flight without a drink then seems you have other issues.

  5. Flight405

    August 7, 2020 at 4:38 am

    I’ll drink to that!

  6. gkbiiii

    August 7, 2020 at 6:28 am

    What about duty free?

  7. magikarrpet

    August 7, 2020 at 7:22 am

    Maybe it is time to change the law.

  8. Fivemilnoluv

    August 7, 2020 at 7:32 am

    You can bet the aviation lobby pushed for this law in the first place so you would be required to pay their markup. There is no public interest served by enforcing this law.

  9. KRSW

    August 7, 2020 at 8:28 am

    @Caribgrl — The only way to make United’s customer service palatable is to drink!

  10. avw

    August 7, 2020 at 8:37 am

    Last thing I want to do is be trapped next to a drunk passenger for an entire flight, covid or not.

  11. DeltaFlyer123

    August 7, 2020 at 8:53 am

    It never occurred to me, but can you buy liquor at an airport (other than what you can consume in an airport bar) that you can take on board an airplane, and other than in a duty free shop, if you are traveling on an international flight?
    So on a domestic flight, how do you bring your own booze on an airplane? You can’t get it through the TSA checkpoint unless it’s less than 3 fluid ounces. Well, I suppose you can stuff 3 or 4 3-fl-oz bottles into a 1 quart plastic bag.

  12. azmojo

    August 7, 2020 at 9:00 am

    Let’s just stop pretending that not serving alcohol is keeping anyone safe from a virus.

  13. cosflyer

    August 7, 2020 at 10:00 am

    you can get at least 8 mini’s in a qt bag……not saying how i know but a “friend” told me

  14. arcticflier

    August 7, 2020 at 12:52 pm

    A World of Alcoholics.

  15. myisland

    August 7, 2020 at 12:58 pm

    I don’t drink much but I’d have to be drunk to fly on a Boeing 737 Max

  16. DeltaFlyer123

    August 7, 2020 at 1:52 pm

    I’ll take your word for it, I’ve never had the need to satisfy my thirst with my own spirits. But I once bought a cheap bottle of Hungarian wine in an LA Hungarian deli, and forgot that I had put it into my carry-on bag – which is all I had on that brief trip – and of course the TSA found it, so I just let them keep it rather than going back to check the bag.

  17. Gynob001

    August 7, 2020 at 5:26 pm

    Any reason for the law? May be the law should explicitly state that if you pay the airline for a drink, you can drink the bottle you brought aboard. It looks like a money making law for airlines. Just like amusement parks, theaters, sports events etc. Bring a drink of your choice, ask the flight attendant to pour and hand over $8.

  18. makfan

    August 7, 2020 at 8:45 pm

    It’s odd. I don’t drink that often, but flying is a time when I’m not operating a vehicle or doing something that requires intense concentration, so I enjoy a cocktail now and then. If I know I’m picking up a rental, I probably don’t have a drink while flying unless it’s long haul. It kind of sucks that this small pleasure is being taken away. They can call it ‘health and safety’ but it’s really a cost cut. We’ll be seeing a lot of that for a while, unfortunately.

  19. DEN

    August 8, 2020 at 9:41 am

    I concur, 8 mini’s fit in a 1qt bag and I’ve never had TSA question it. I usually only pack 6 however…..It makes me feel like I don’t have a drinking problem :) I reuse Glenfarklas and Dewers bottles so, if it’s ever noticed on a United flight….well, you know why.

    I was told by a FA once that self-serve alcohol isn’t allowed so that they can monitor consumption and stop it before there is a problem.

  20. dblumenhoff

    August 9, 2020 at 12:43 am

    Also in many airports the duty free will sell you alcohol for a domestic flight and they’ll just charge you tax.

  21. kkua

    August 9, 2020 at 5:46 pm

    Many liabilities will arise if alcohol is not served by the flight crew. My immediate train of thought will be the DUI accidents driving home from the airport. Then there’s the controlled amounts by crew to ensure the drunk does not become unruly. Most of the alcohol reminder will be for passengers who purchased at F&B outlets inside the terminal. If there’s a natinoal rule where alcohol cannot be sold in resealable containers, I’m sure the passengers will down them before boarding the plane.

    Doesn’t alcohol kill germs ??? LOL!

  22. af fp

    August 10, 2020 at 7:53 am

    Indeed, self-serve alcohol isn’t allowed so that they can monitor consumption and stop it before there is a problem.

    But it is really about offer and demand, and at the moment there is no offer, pretty much all US airlines make alcohol consumption difficult or impossible. It is just part of a general decrease in quality of service, the side effect being that for this and many other reasons I feel no urge to go on a trip. Something will give, and most likely from all that negative attitude a big airline will go, I think it will be American Airlines because they have no money left and the worst service (although staff attitude has improved during the pandemic), or United, because they also are poorly managed and their staff have significant attitude problems.

  23. rylan

    August 11, 2020 at 10:39 am

    So whats to stop pax from pouring that mini in a non-descript container/soda bottle/styrofoam etc prior to boarding?

  24. zombietooth

    August 13, 2020 at 12:07 pm

    I had a friend who used to do just that. He’d bring generic soda or hot drink cups and lids with him in his carry-on and a sack full of pips. Then, he’e ask for a cup of ice when he got onboard with his desired mixer.

  25. Simon Schus

    August 16, 2020 at 10:16 am

    I asked an AA Flight Attendant recently on a flight (in Y) if it was okay for me to drink a couple of the small gin miniature that I had brought on with me… and if it was, could they provide me with some tonic? They gladly obliged!

  26. red75231

    August 17, 2020 at 9:25 am

    Whatever happened to ‘Palcohol’? Sure could use it now…

  27. sfoeuroflyer

    August 18, 2020 at 2:15 pm

    On a list of 1000 things an airline needs to worry about, pax bringing their own booze sits at number 999. With nasty cutbacks what’s the harm? And don’t say the virus, since this has nothing to do with the virus.

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