American Airlines CEO knows that the federal mask mandate – which he lobbied for – is causing most of the problems on airplanes today. American won’t service alcohol in coach until September 13th when the mask mandate expires. But he’s frustrated. He doesn’t know what else to know. So the airline is trying to stop ‘to go’ sales of alcohol in airports and trying to get more abusive customers prosecuted.
Parker said that they’ll do whatever they have to do to stop the increase in bad passenger behavior.
It’s still rare compared to the total number of passengers carried, but it’s up to ‘5, 10’ incidents per day. That’s why, according to comments made to employees (a recording of which was reviewed by View From The Wing, he said:
We’ll divert airplanes. We’ll do anything we can, we have to get this to stop. It is not acceptable. I get done with all of this and I don’t have the answer which is what’s so frustrating to me.
Nate Gatten, American’s Senior Vice President, Global Government Affairs, added that “we’re trying to partner where we can with airports to take a look at alcohol and alcohol to go sales.”
Parker added his strong opposition to airport alcohol to go sales,
It’s really hard to enforce because those ae businesses that have taken that position and there’s no real federal mandate that says you can’t sell alcohol to go somewhere in the airport.
It’s insane. You can’t bring liquids through security but you can go get alcohol and take it to go, and where in the world are you going?
You’re going and getting on an airplane.
American is also trying to get more customers prosecuted for their bad behavior, which isn’t just inflight (the stories that go most viral) but also at the gate. Gatten said they’re talking to “attorneys general in areas to make sure they’re willing to bring cases where we have evidence.”
“I suggest you try Spirit” pic.twitter.com/VAibeYhjHz
— J- 🌎✨ (@MajorFactor2) July 20, 2021
Parker referenced that agent as well,
I spoke to [the agent] last night because I’m proud of him. He was apologetic for maybe not being as professional as he used to. I thought he was fantastic.
…All of us need to do that and follow Austin’s example. What he did was exactly what we want people to do. The customer isn’t always right. And when they’re not they’re not going to fly American Airlines.
Parker also noted that American is “one of only two airlines that has chosen not to put alcohol back on the airplane until September 13 which is when the mask mandate is set to expire. These aren’t all about masks, but the mask mandate is the source of most of the issues.”
Of course American Airlines does serve alcohol in first class, and United and Delta don’t seem to have as many viral conflicts as American. Southwest now announces a warning not to drink your own alcohol.