As someone who attended survived 13 years of Catholic school (K-12), I’m no stranger to experiencing group punishment. I’m not a huge fan of the concept, nor the practice.
Perhaps Southwest Airlines went to the same schools I did.
The Airline of Love just reversed course on a fairly big announcement. It originally announced it would phase in alcohol service on board its flights next month. Beer, wine, vodka, and whiskey would eventually be available on flights over 250 miles. Cheers, right?!
Well, don’t crack open a cold one quite yet.
“Given the recent uptick in industry-wide incidents of passenger disruptions inflight,” Southwest said, “we have made the decision to pause the previously announced re-start of alcohol service onboard June (Hawaii flights) and July.” (That comes to us from Points, Miles, and Martinis — how’s that for an appropriate source?!)
Once again, the ne’er-do-well troublemakers ruin it for everyone.
A Southwest flight attendant was decked by an enraged passenger last week — and lost two teeth. (Though another passenger asserts the flight attendant isn’t exactly blameless and could’ve deescalated the situation.)
Air rage incidents have increased dramatically. Most of them are apparently are arguments started over mask-wearing.
But I’m curious how much inflight drink service has to do with it.
People Drink Before Flights!
Plenty of travelers drink before boarding flights. You’ve seen, I’ve seen it. (Heck, maybe I’ve had a drink with you at an airport bar or club lounge before a flight.)
The Los Angeles Times‘ Hugo Martin wrote (subscription possibly required) a couple of years ago:
…more than 60% of travelers in a recent survey said they down a drink or two before heading to the airport.
Once in the airport and on the plane…the rate of alcohol consumption increases, according to the survey.
So, some people are already gassed well before inflight drink carts are unlatched from galley storage areas. That’s not the airline’s fault. Nor is the fault of responsible fellow passengers. Depending on a passenger’s behavior at the airport, it may be difficult to fault a bartender or lounge staff.
Consider this, too: if travelers know there isn’t alcohol available on a flight, they may feel more inclined to binge drink at the airport instead of spacing out their drinks throughout their journey.
Plus, flight attendants are trained to spot intoxicated passengers. Perhaps it’s not this simple, but maybe the drunk passengers shouldn’t get served. Passengers who drink responsibly and can handle their alcohol don’t really pose a threat to anyone, as far as I can tell.
I’m fine not drinking alcohol on a plane. I did it a few weeks ago, in fact. I have Southwest itineraries scheduled and this hiccup won’t change my mind.
But I appreciate having the option of enjoying some red wine or bourbon. (Though I certainly won’t bring my own alcohol onto a flight.)
So I hope Southwest reconsiders its reconsideration. In the meantime, maybe Brad Paisley needs to add some lyrics to this classic:
What do you think? Did Southwest do the right thing by staying dry? Or do they need to pour a good beverage and relax a little?
Please share your thoughts in the below Comments section!
If you drink, please do so legally and responsibly. Worried you have a drinking problem? Consider contacting the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s national helpline: 1-800-662-HELP (4357) or visit SAMHSA.gov.
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