Southwest Airlines and American Airlines will continue to not serve alcohol on board to passengers. The decision was taken after a particularly violent incident where a Southwest Airlines flight attendant was assaulted by a passenger. Lyn Montgomery, the president of Transport Workers Union Local 556, which represents flight attendants on Southwest Airlines, urged the Airlines’ chief executive to put a stop to the abuse flight attendants have been facing.
Flight crews must feel safe and supported when reporting to work,” wrote Lyn Montgomery, the president of Transport Workers Union Local 556 in a letter to Southwest Airlines’ chief executive, as per The New York Times.Lyn Montgomery, President, Transport Workers Union Local 556
Unfortunately this is not an isolated incident. Since January 1, 2021 the Federal Aviation Administration (F.A.A.) has received about 2,500 reports of unruly behavior by passengers, including about 1,900 reports of passengers refusing to comply with a federal mandate that they wear masks on planes. Violent behavior by passengers has surged starting in late 2020.
But this isn’t just about face masks,” said Steve Dickson, the Federal Aviation Administration (F.A.A.) administrator, as per The New York Times.
We’ve seen incidents related to alcohol, violence toward flight attendants and abusive behavior in general.”Steve Dickson, Administrator, Federal Aviation Administration (F.A.A.)
Southwest plans to postpone serving alcohol onboard till at least the end of July. Meanwhile American Airlines will not serve alcohol in the main cabin till September 13, which is when the mandate to wear masks inflight expires.
American Airlines stated in a memo regarding their decision that alcohol can contribute to atypical behavior. Southwest airlines cited the recent uptick in violence on flights as reasoning for the decision.
Those who violate rules on flights are subject to fines and jail time sentences. Earlier, the F.A.A. had proposed fines of $9,000 to $15,000 for five passengers who were disruptive during flights. Two of these incidents involved alcohol.
Many airlines have stopped serving alcohol inflight to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Even before the pandemic broke out alcohol-related problems had long been of significant concern for airlines.
The New York Times: “2 Airlines Will Postpone Serving Alcohol Amid Surge of In-Flight Violence“