American Airlines has announced that its onboard alcohol ban has been extended to January 18, 2022 since last week you’re sitting on the plane.
The ban, which was slated to expire on September 13, will continue in light of recent events, according to a new report from NBC. (The most recent events have, of course, been the spate of violent incidents on board in recent months.) The announcement follows the FAA’s request that airports thwart unruly passengers earlier this month in a final attempt to stop take-away drinks.
“We are doing everything we can to create a safe environment for our crew and customers on board our aircraft,” American Airlines said in a memo received from NBC.
But the ban only seems to apply to those who fly economy. According to the American Airlines website, first class passengers can continue to enjoy full beverage service, including alcohol, on all flights. The message seems to be that economy class passengers are more liable in the air and consequently are not entitled to full beverage service.
To be clear, we understand that the ban on on-board alcohol comes from necessity. First of all, the end of the ban is directly related to the expiry of the state’s mask mandate for air travel, which was also recently extended to January 2022. In addition, the FAA has received a record number of reports (nearly 4,000 in fact) of unsavory behavior by passengers, with crimes ranging from throwing baggage at other passengers and violently refusing to wear a mask to sexual assault on flight attendants , with proposed fines exceeding $ 1 million per year. Obviously, removing alcohol from the equation serves to de-escalate the already turbulent terrain.
But the look of a ban on on-board alcohol exclusively for economy passengers is admittedly not very good. Apparently, American Airlines hasn’t commented on this, although it may not have occurred to them that people who can afford first-class seating are just as capable of wreaking drunken havoc as those who can’t … especially when you consider that the former group drinks for free. And that’s what ultimately depends on this decision: After a tough year for the airline industry, nobody wants to alienate the most lucrative and loyal customer group in the friendliest sky. First class fliers are often frequent flyers with expense reports too, and if they can’t have a drink on American they can move their business elsewhere.
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