Get Ready to Pay More for Alcohol on Southwest Flights

Feb 18, 2018

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Bad news for nervous flyers, along with flyers that like to relax with an on-board drink and thirsty Raiders fans. According to an internal memo just released, Southwest’s alcoholic drink prices are going up on March 1.

Prices are increasing by $1-2 per drink, switching from a flat $5 pricing scheme to a “tiered pricing structure.” Starting March 1, Southwest’s on-board alcoholic prices will be:

  • Miller Lite, Dos Equis: $6
  • Fat Tire, Lagunitas and a season beer option: $7
  • Wine: $6
  • Liquor: $7

This will be Southwest’s first alcohol price change since 2009. As for why the airline is doing this, the internal memo notes its Marketing Customer Insights Team found “more Customers would be willing to purchase an alcoholic beverage at a slightly higher price if the selection was well-rounded and included premium options such as craft beer.”

The airline that still proudly bucks the industry norms of charging for checked bags and ticket changes also says it’s increasing its prices because everyone else already has. In the internal memo, Southwest provides this comparison chart between its new prices and other US carriers, showing that its “updated prices still keep [Southwest] competitive and even lower than most airlines:”

Beer Premium Beer Wine Liquor
Southwest $6 $7 $6 $7
American $7 $7 $8 $8
United $7.99 $7.99 $7.99 $7.99-8.99
Delta $6 $7 $8-14.99 $8
Alaska $6 $7 $7 $7
Spirit $7 N/A $7 $7
JetBlue $7-9 $7-9 $7-9 $7-9

On-board alcohol isn’t something that you can pre-purchase, so there isn’t a way of locking in the price of your booze for your next flight. However, to save a few bucks, you’ll want to save any Southwest drink coupons you have for after March 1.

Also, keep in mind that you can save money by bringing your own mini-bottles of alcohol through TSA and onto flights. Just remember to ask the flight attendant to serve your alcohol for you, as FAA regulations state:

No person may drink any alcoholic beverage aboard an aircraft unless the certificate holder operating the aircraft has served that beverage to him.

Featured image by Kondor83/Getty Images.

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