If You’re Going to Drink Your Own Booze Onboard and Shout “We’re All Gonna Die,” Choose Alaska Airlines

Back in November, a Southwest Airlines flight proved why you shouldn’t try to bring your own alcohol onboard.

You can bring mini-bottles of alcohol through security. But you cannot open them and drink them on a plane.

You can buy alcohol post-security, such as at duty free. But you cannot open the bottles and drink them on a plane.

It is a violation of federal law to drink alcoholic beverage onboard an an aircraft unless served by the airline. Airlines have the option of serving you the alcohol you bring onboard yourself, but that’s entirely at their discretion (and the discretion of the flight attendants on any given flight).

I once had a seatmate refuse crew instructions to stop drinking her own alcohol onboard. I was lucky we didn’t divert, though things did get kind of nasty.

Not everyone got the memo from the Southwest flight, though, because Tuesday’s Alaska Airlines flight from Boston to San Diego diverted to Denver after a passenger went berserk after “flight attendants would not let him drink the ..[small bottles of alcohol] he brought on.”

“He got very belligerent, saying, ‘OK, but you know that now we are all going to die.’ He kept saying, ‘I’m not a terrorist but we’re going to die,'” Conroy added. “He then started making threats at the passengers.”

Passengers subdued the man. Police removed the man from the aircraft on arrival in Denver. He was not arrested.

It’s one thing to want to drink your own contraband alcohol. It’s another to shout on a plane, “We are all going to die.” He’s lucky he was dropped off in Denver and not Guantanamo.

Alaska Airlines described the incident as “a customer service issue.” That’s some customer service from Alaska Airlines!

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. You have to be a giant idiot to get caught doing this. I mean seriously, how hard can it be to hide drinking a mini? Ask for a can of coke when the flight attendants do the drink service. Wait for them to leave. Then add your mini to your drink. Is it any more complicated than that?

  2. I’m actually kind of disappointed that nothing happened to him. Alaska is a great airline, but this angers me. This passenger delayed over 100 people. Given the omnipresence of media, social or otherwise, ignorance that this behavior is unacceptable is *not* an excuse. Neither are episodes of temporary insanity due to pre-existing medical conditions…or however anyone wants to spin similar situations. While I think a lot of flight attendants take themselves too seriously when it comes to “safety”, this is clearly an instance where an example needs to be made and the passenger suffer for his idiocy…either monetarily or through actual arrest and imprisonment.

  3. Never had any problems drinking any alcohol onboard anywhere else outside of the U.S., its insane how strict the alc. regulations are in the U.S.

  4. Did this genius just figure out a new form of hidden city ticketing? Maybe Denver was his actual destination!

  5. This guy is an idiot, end of the story. But drinking your own alcohol on the plain is a different issue.

    From passenger point of view, we should be allowed to drink our own alcohol without disturbing other passengers and anyone crossing the “drunk” line should be penalized somehow.

    Until few years ago, there was no issues with drinking your own alcoholic onboard even in the open. All this started (I think) when their bottom line went way below the bottom. I am not sure if there is a federal law to drink your own alcoholic onboard an aircraft, but it for sure a sizable income for an airlines. If anything, the law should be similar as for any other public transportation… not allowed (not that I would support this point).

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