American Airlines Extends Ban on Main Cabin Alcohol Sales Into 2022

by Matthew Memrick

Citing the need to maintain a safe environment, American Airlines has extended its main cabin alcohol sales ban into 2022.

Now passengers must wait until Jan. 18, 2022, to ask for a beer, wine, or a mini-bottle in flight.

“We are doing all we can to help create a safe environment for our crew and customers on board our aircraft,” American said in an internal memo obtained Thursday by NBC News.

NBC News said a Southwest Airlines incident involving an attack on a flight attendant moved the ban to Sept. 13. In that incident, a passenger knocked out a flight attendant’s two teeth.

According to USA Today, American and Southwest are currently the only two airlines that have the bans. Southwest, however, does not have a timetable for ending its alcohol ban.

Bad Behavior Fines Over $1M

This week’s ban extension comes on the heels of a Federal Aviation Administration announcement that $1 million in proposed fines were dished out to surly passengers this year. 

The agency also issued warnings to airports about monitoring their alcohol sales before passenger onboarding in recent weeks.

Stacey Frantz, American’s senior manager of flight service policies and procedures, said the airline is “gaining ground” in its efforts. 

She said American Airlines has worked to get the Federal Aviation Administration to stop alcohol to-go sales at its hub airports such as Dallas and Charlotte, among other airports.

Since January, the FAA has reported nearly 3,900 incidents. Of those, 2,867 cases involved passengers refusing to comply with federal mask mandates for planes. A typical year of lousy behavior nets 100 to 150 cases of unlawful hijinks.  

Take Thursday, for example. The FAA cited 34 passengers for bad behavior and fined them more than $500,000. Those fines brought the total amount of civil penalties to more than $1 million. Of the 34 new cases, 22 involved passengers who would not follow the mask mandate.

On Tuesday, the Transportation Security Administration has extended mask-wearing mandates through Jan. 18 “to minimize the COVID-19” spread. 

KTEN reported on two bad behavior incidents specifically.

On a JetBlue flight in May, a man threw his carry-on bag at people on the plane. Then, he grabbed a flight attendant by the ankles and put his head up her skirt before being restrained. The FAA wants to fine him $45,000.

Another May JetBlue flight could cost a man $42,000. When the man refused to wear a mask, he threatened others and made stabbing gestures toward others. Soon after, crew members discovered a substance the man was snorting. An altercation happened, and the crew members had to protect themselves with ice mallets before police took the man away.

Passengers Not Thrilled With Ban

Some Twitter users were less than impressed by the American Airlines extension. On an ABC News story’s Twitter post, many urged passengers to stay off the booze because passengers didn’t need it for just a short time in the air. Others pounded on the rulebreakers.

With first-class flyers beyond the scope of these rules, the coach folks took shots at the rich.