It’s all fun and games until someone pokes their eye out. Southwest has decided to indefinitely delay the return of alcohol service to its flights in light of a recent spate of Spirit Airlines passengers fanning out across other airlines. The plan to bring back alcohol was only announced 8 days ago.
The problem, as Dalton first observed, is this:
People who really want to have a good time won’t come to a slaughterhouse. And we’ve got entirely too many troublemakers here. Too many 40-year-old adolescents, felons, power drinkers and trustees of modern chemistry.
I’ve asked the airline whether they will consider further extensions to expiring free drink chits.
Airlines are slowly bringing back their inflight service, with more people vaccinated and a realization that Covid-19 wasn’t spreading via fomites anyway. Southwest Airlines is about to join the party, going from offering Coke, Diet Coke, 7 Up and water only to selling beer and wine and offering coffee, too.
- Hawaii flights get beer and wine back June 24
- All other flights 251 miles or greater get beer and wine back July 14
- Coffee returns June 24
The airline confirmed to me in late March that free drink coupons you may have with expiration dates in 2020 or 2021 are valid through December 31, 2021.
Back in the day of course free drink coupons didn’t used to expire at all and the change led to a class action lawsuit that paid out well for the attorneys.
Just prior to airline deregulation, when Southwest Airlines had to start competing with Texas International Airlines and Braniff offering cheap fares between Houston and Dellas, they started giving out “to go” bottles of alcohol to full fare customers. They became the largest liquor distributor in the state.
For many years Southwest Airlines offered free drinks inflight to all customers. They cut that back to offering free drinks only during key business travel times. And then in 1988 they eliminated free alcohol from their flights, but started giving coupons to frequent flyers.
Booze may be part of the airline’s DNA, stemming from Wild Turkey-drinking co-founder Herb Kelleher, but the airline isn’t as loose with the drinks as they once were.
Chase stopped giving out drink chits to their cardholders in 2016. Southwest no longer sends them out when you redeem award tickets, or on your birthday. There seemingly aren’t as many free drink holidays on the airline as there used to be.
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