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Southwest Airlines has sent a note to its flight attendants saying it will resume its service of alcoholic beverages onboard flights until at least mid-January of 2022, according to USA Today.
Many airline officials across the board have tied the consumption of alcohol to a good portion of the unprecedented 4,000 incidents of verbal and physical altercations on planes this year. Most involve the mandated use of face masks.
Southwest is intimately familiar with such incidents - one of the airline's flight attendants had three teeth broken by a passenger during a confrontation.
In its memo, Southwest said it was aligning its decision with the timing of the federal mask mandate.
"With the mask mandate being extended to January 18, 2022, there are no current plans to bring back alcohol prior to January 2022,'' Randall Miller, senior manager of inflight ops, initiatives and design, said in the memo.
American Airlines made the same decision in August, when the mandate was extended due to the spike in COVID-19 cases from the delta variant.
Southwest and American are the only two major carriers still not serving alcohol in economy class. (American serves it in first class; Southwest doesn't have a first class.)
Southwest was the first major U.S. airline to suspend traditional inflight sales of alcohol. It said earlier this year that it would resume selling inflight cocktails in June, but quickly changed its mind.
"Given the recent uptick in industry-wide incidents of passenger disruptions in-flight, we have made the decision to pause the previously announced restart of alcohol service onboard,'' Southwest spokesman Chris Mainz said at the time. "We realize this decision may be disappointing for some customers, but we feel this is the right decision at this time in the interest of the safety and comfort of all customers and crew on board.''
Rich Thomaselli has written for TravelPulse since 2014 and has been a professional journalist for nearly 40 years. His work has...
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