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American Airlines extending its alcohol sales ban until 2022

Aug. 19, 2021
3 min read
American Airlines extending its alcohol sales ban until 2022
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Editor's Note

This post has been updated with additional information. 

Recently, there's been a succession of news stories about unruly passengers causing trouble in the air during this recent travel surge. U.S. airlines are taking precautionary measures as they’ve witnessed a recent uptick in disorderly passenger behavior.

American Airlines was one of the most recent airlines to ban alcohol sales in its economy cabin this summer. Now, American has announced that the ban will be extended until at least January 2022, as first reported by Sam Sweeney at ABC News.

Originally, an internal memo sent to flight attendants back in May and first obtained by CNN stated that economy passengers flying with American would have to wait until at least Sept. 13 before they can order a mid-flight drink.

In the memo, vice president of flight service Brady Byrnes stated the reasoning behind the airline’s decision:

“Over the past week we’ve seen some of these stressors create deeply disturbing situations on board aircraft. Let me be clear: American Airlines will not tolerate assault or mistreatment of our crews. While we appreciate that customers and crewmembers are eager to return to ‘normal,’ we will move cautiously and deliberately when restoring pre-COVID practices.”

Related: Don’t be a jerk on a flight; there are no more second chances this summer

This came at the heels of other airlines, such as Southwest Airlines' announcement earlier in the summer that they, too, are pausing alcohol sales altogether after a flight attendant was physically assaulted in-flight by an inebriated passenger. Southwest Airlines has yet to determine if they'll reintroduce alcohol sales past September — which is when the previous TSA transportation mask mandate was expected to expire.

With TSA extending the mask mandate on all public transportation networks through January 2022 — including at airports and onboard airplanes — many passengers will have to wait just as long to sip on an inflight adult beverage.

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(Photo by Robert Alexander/Getty Images)

American was planning to resume full main cabin beverage service, including alcoholic beverage options and its buy-on-board food program later in the summer. However, those plans have now been put on hold.

For now, pre-departure beverage service remains suspended in premium cabins. In the main cabin on flights under 250 miles, non-alcoholic beverage service is available upon request. On flights of 250+ miles, non-alcoholic beverage service with be offered with a snack.

“Alcohol will continue to be offered in premium cabins (First/Business class),” according to the memo — but only inflight. American notes that “pre-departure beverage service continues to remain paused.”

Related: In-flight service is back — here’s what food and drinks you can expect on your next flight

Featured image by Getty Images/Blend Images
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
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10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
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The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

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  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023