Southwest Airlines was first to delay its planned return of alcohol to flights, blaming the bad apple passengers who have been behaving badly without drinking alcohol I should point out.
Now American Airlines has decided to put off its return to offering alcohol in economy on domestic flights until at least September 13th, which is when the federal mask mandate currently runs through. Alcohol was supposed to return to coach on Tuesday.
“Over the past week we’ve seen some of these stressors create deeply disturbing situations on board aircraft. Let me be clear: American Airlines will not tolerate assault or mistreatment of our crews,” Vice President of Flight Service Brady Byrnes said in the memo. “While we appreciate that customers and crewmembers are eager to return to ‘normal,’ we will move cautiously and deliberately when restoring pre-COVID practices.”
Alcohol service was initially dropped because something something coronavirus risk as though tomato juice suddenly became a vector of virus spread when vodka was added. The elimination of service continued because of preferences of the flight attendant’s union, perhaps Jerry Glass thought giving them less work to do would mean fewer concessions at the bargaining table.
Delta, Alaska, Allegiant, and Spirit all make alcohol available in economy. United still intends to bring it back June 1. Ironically United’s flight attendants are represented by Sara Nelson, who has been exceptionally vocal on this issue, and so far ‘the most powerful flight attendant’ has had less influence than counterparts at Southwest and American.
American, which has served alcohol in first class throughout the pandemic, is also delaying the return of predeparture beverages in first class. Surely a glass of juice prior to takeoff isn’t a safety risk?